Candidates: focus on solutions for immigrants

To the Editor:

The immigrant rights movement in Northwest Ohio has a clear message to the November electoral candidates: stop anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on solutions.

The region’s population is growing in diversity. Employers as well as residents welcome the newcomers as a force to revitalize the region’s aging population and decaying numbers. The organizations call on the Ohio electoral candidates at all levels to do their part at securing welcoming narratives and policies that will continue the path of the successful immigrant history of America.

Immigrant rights organizations working with immigrants and refugees met on Sunday at Lourdes University Franciscan Center to discuss collaborations and develop lines of action. The session was organized by NW Ohio Immigrant Rights Network, the Sisters of St. Francis, La Conexion, ABLE, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Toledo and Multifaith Council of NW Ohio.

Scapegoating immigrants for political gain is not only dangerous, as it can brew violence against our communities, but it is also a sad revelation of the shortsightedness and lack of vision of many of our electoral candidates. The majority of Americans want our government to focus on sound solutions to the challenges we are facing.

Several immigration reform bills introduced since 2021 will bring order and predictability to the broken immigration system.

A new bill introduced in July, HR 8433: Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929, will do just that simply by updating the registry date, now set in 1972. The registry date, a provision in the existing law, allows people who have enter the country by the date set to apply for legal residency.

They will have to pass many other requirements to actually obtain residency, but it will open the door to immigrants who have been here for a number of years, with a proven track record of good moral character and contributions, to at least apply for an adjustment of status. The registry has not been updated in 50 years and it is time. It does not require an overall change in the system but rather a small adjustment.

The 45 participants representing over 20 immigrant and refugee rights organizations in the region also advocate for urging President Joe Biden to set — and meet — a refugee admissions goal of 200,000 for the 2023 fiscal year, increase resources available for newcomers and provide detention alternatives.

Beatriz Maya

executive director

La Conexion