Network created to oppose the Republican’s “Illegal Alien Enforcement Act”
A statewide network of leaders is uniting in Columbus, Ohio to oppose the introduction of the “Ohio Workforce Protection and Illegal Enforcement Act.”
The bill is being introduced by Assistant Majority Whip, State Representative Bill Seitz (Republican) – District 30 – Cincinnati.
“We are here to stand in solidarity against this proposed legislation,” stated Rubén Castilla Herrera of the Latino Leadership Initiative. “I am amazed but not surprised that the leadership of this House chooses to focus on this unsubstantiated issue and not on real issues before Ohioans, such as education and jobs.”
“Based on irrational fears and stereotypes, legislative proposals such as the Illegal Alien Enforcement Act all too often become a vehicle for discrimination against some of our new neighbors simply because they look and speak differently.
“One does not have to go very far back in our history to find similar discredited anti-immigrant beliefs such as with the Irish, Italian, Polish, and Catholic immigrants,” said Rosa Caskey of Dayton, Ohio State Director of the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
“The vast majority of immigrants then and now came to Ohio and the United States with the same dreams, willingness to work, and eagerness to contribute,” she added.
Why this bill is a bad bill and detrimental to Ohioans:
According to Castilla Herrera, LULAC, and the Farm labor Organizing Committee, the bill is detrimental to Ohioans for the following reasons:
• Requires higher local taxes to implement. The bill will require additional local taxes to fund the enhanced law enforcement activities, increased detention facilities, the proposed ombudsman office and other associated regulatory initiatives required under the proposed legislation. Yet it will not make our communities safer or our local economy stronger.
• Overburdens and hampers local law enforcement. The bill adds yet another questionable victimless crime responsibility on local law enforcement already overtaxed in the effort to reduce crime that has a direct impact on the safety of our communities.
• Creates rather than addresses local medical health emergencies. The bill seeks to limit or reduce access to medical care despite numerous studies that conclude that unattended medical needs directly lead to more costly and dangerous emergency medical situations.
• Puts employers and property owners at risk. Under possible pain of civil and criminal penalties, the bill imposes new regulatory and enforcement burdens on local businesses ill-equipped to function as quasi-state enforcement agents.
• Requires anti-family actions by state and local agencies. Despite many of its proponents claimed allegiance to family values, the bill does not appear to value families because it potentially requires the destruction of functional family units when parents are forcibly separated from children.
Sylvia Castellanos, a spokesperson of the Coalition for Immigrants Rights and Dignity (CODEDI), of Cincinnati feels strongly that “this politically motivated bill would not only make miserable the lives of hard-working, church-going immigrant families but would also endanger the health and safety of native-born U.S. citizens. The future of our state depends upon the labor, the taxes, and the active participation of immigrants.”
Don Bryant who came with a group called Pro Americas from Cleveland, stated, “This bill punishes refugees of the economic war on the poor; the underpaid factory, textile and farm workers in the developing nations sustain our lifestyle. Most can barely afford to feed their families and are driven to wealthier nations for work and better wages.” Poor people lose; they don't finance Ohio politicians like the corporations that exploit them."
Pro Americas is a grassroots committee whose mission is to secure human rights, economic, and family security for immigrants and ultimately native born Ohioans.
Gahanna, Ohio resident Juan Miranda is a Mexican immigrant who is in the process of becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States feels this so called “Illegal Alien Enforcement Act” is not based on any real evidence that illegal immigrants are taking away jobs from U.S.-Americans or are otherwise a burden to Ohio’s economy.
Furthermore, Miranda fears that this act will call for an open season against Latinos and other legal immigrants. “What is going to be the strategy for identifying illegal immigrants? How long until I have to carry my residency papers everywhere I go?” questioned Juan Miranda. “If this law is enacted I will only have two choices: To leave the state or to stay and fight this nonsense” said Miranda. “This is my home. I’m not going anywhere.”
The statewide network of leaders came together after the August 3rd press conference when Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted (Republican- Kettering) and Ohio Senate President Bill Harris (Republican- Ashland) announced plans to craft the “Ohio Workforce Protection and Illegal Alien Enforcement Act.”
The network consists of a cross section of concerned individuals, social service providers, business people and faith community representatives.