Solidarity committee supports undocumented immigrants

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Between the words “illegal” and “undocumented” sits a gulf of misunderstanding. Reading stories on the concern and fear in the immigrant community, a number of people write: “They’re illegal.” For them that settles the matter. For those who work with and advocate for immigrants who lack the proper paperwork to continue living in a place that has become their home, that response neglects their history and day-to-day fears. Those fears are real, according to Beatriz Maya of La Conexion de Wood County. When La Conexion hosted a session with legal experts from Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Toledo, some undocumented immigrants were unwilling to show up for fear of being identified. The meeting, though, was well attended by those who want to stand in provide the voice for their undocumented neighbors and want to work on their behalf. That Immigrant Solidarity Committee will hold an ice cream social including a silent auction Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 126 S. Church St., in Bowling Green. The event will spread awareness, discuss future plans, and raise money to help with expenses undocumented residents may have because of sudden deportations. “They are really afraid,” Maya said. “If they were afraid before, now it was just terror. They didn’t want to go to rally. We need people who can do solidarity work and be the voice of the immigrant community.” Margaret Weinberger, of Bowling Green, was one of those who attended the March session. The stories she heard about what is happening as close as Lucas County were chilling, she said….

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BGSU senate approves Welcoming Campus resolution

The Bowling Green State University Faculty Senate Tuesday afternoon passed a resolution calling for BGSU a Welcoming Campus. The vote was 46-6 in favor. The resolution as presented represented a somewhat softer version of the sanctuary campus proposal discussed earlier. The resolution was further changed by striking a provision calling for Homeland Security, Border Patrol and Immigrant and Customs officials on campus for recruiting to be in plain clothes and unarmed. Unlike in previous meetings President Mary Ellen Mazey did not state opposition to the resolution in her remarks at the beginning of the meeting. Afterward she said she would have to talk with members of her cabinet including university counsel before stating whether she approved of the resolutions. The use of the term “welcoming” instead of “sanctuary” was both to align with Not In Our Town and to evade sanctions being proposed against sanctuary communities.

Political scientist argues opening borders, resettling refugees are a moral imperative

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   While the president of the United States talks about building a wall to keep people out, political scientist Joseph Carens believes borders should be thrown open. “We have to use overt force to prevent people from moving,” he said. “We need borders and barriers and guards to keep out people who want to build a decent life for themselves and their children. And that is something we can change. At least we can let more people in. Our refusal to do so is a choice we make, and one that prevents them from having a chance at a decent life.” Carens, who spoke on “Immigration Controversies: Migrants, Refugees and Open Borders” Feb. 16 at Bowling Green State University bases his argument on the belief that “all human beings are equal” and have “equal moral worth.” His talk was hosted by the Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law Program. Yet, he said, the conventional view that states control who can come in and out means that the opportunities for human beings, especially those from impoverished and politically unstable states, are not equal. “Freedom of movement is essential to the freedom of equal opportunity,” Carens said. He sees no rationale for someone to be able to travel unhindered to Boston or Los Angeles, but then go through border checks to go to Toronto. Any system of restrictions, he said, should take into account the interests of all parties involved including immigrants. It is not enough to say an immigration regime that restricts who can come in and out and enforces that with guns, guards and barriers…

BG Police Division is not an arm of ICE

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Police Division is not in the pursuit of undocumented immigrants. “People think the police division is an arm of ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” said Major Justin White. “That misinformation breeds fear.” To try to calm those fears, Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick has met with members of the Latino organization La Conexion, and White has met with students and staff at the English Language Center at Bowling Green State University. “We are not out enforcing immigration, determining if someone should be here,” White said. “We are not stopping people driving down the street who look like immigrants to see if they belong here.” Across the nation, anxiety spiked recently after a series of raids made by U.S. immigration authorities. Hundreds of undocumented immigrants in several states have been arrested, according to President Donald Trump as part of his crackdown on immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Officials said the raids targeted known criminals, but they also netted some immigrants without criminal records. Last month, Trump broadened the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target to include those with minor offenses or no convictions at all. That has led to fear throughout the country, and has led to a petition calling for BGSU to become a sanctuary campus. White said it is his understanding that international students have nothing to fear. “In order for them to get accepted into BGSU, they would have to have the proper paperwork,” he said. The Bowling Green Police Division has worked with ICE in the past, probably once or…

Still no action in Faculty Senate on sanctuary petition

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday unfolded much as the January session had. Senators were greeted by a gauntlet of protestors outside McFall, and then when the senate convened the sign-carrying demonstrators lined the assembly hall quietly and listened through President Mary Ellen Mazey’s remarks. And when she addressed the issue they were concerned about, a request for a sanctuary campus, they heard the same stance. The university must adhere to the law. But the university will do everything within the parameters of the law to assist foreign students and faculty as well as students with status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The university has 11 DACA students and 21 with visas or green cards from the seven countries covered by the travel ban. Mazey has publicly supported proposed federal legislation, the BRIDGE Act that would extent DACA status to people who were brought to the country illegally as children. On Tuesday, Mazey announced she joined 600 other higher education leaders in signing a letter opposing the travel ban issued by the administration. While acknowledging the need to “safeguard” the country, the letter states the signatories also recognize “the need for the United States to remain the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest students, faculty, and scholars.” This openness promotes American values abroad as well as promoting scientific and technological advances, the letter states. When asked, Mazey would not speculate on what action the university would take if these legislative and lobbying efforts failed. Professor Francisco Cabanillas then asked if those efforts fail “would we have…

Community stands with Muslims over travel ban

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   During his 35 years in the U.S., Imam Talal Eid said he has never criticized an American president. Even during the campaign, when Donald Trump made hateful statements about Muslims, Eid held his tongue. “He’s the president, I’m sure things will be OK,” Eid said once Trump took office. Then came the executive order that effectively banned Muslims from seven countries from entering the U.S. And Eid, director of religious affairs at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo in Perrysburg Township, cautioned church officials to pray for the divided nation but not criticize Trump. But then the stories came of families separated, Muslims returned to dangerous lands, people’s lives at risk. “I started to hear the tragedies,” Eid said. “I broke my silence. Innocent people are being harmed in the name of our nation.” Eid spoke Sunday afternoon to a mosque crowded with members and strangers who wanted to offer their support in the face of the travel ban. The audience overflowed out of the sermon room into prayer room. “This is the first time that I feel that my country, my president is trying to kill the morale of innocent people,” he said. He spoke of the agony that families already go through to get entry into the U.S. “You may not be aware that people sell their homes to come to America and have a good life,” the Imam said. Eid said he  has always clung to the Constitution, which is guided by the belief that people are all created equal. “I always speak of the ethics of the Constitution.”…

Jewish groups: “We pray for those who wish to come here and live in peace, but are denied safe harbor”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo and the Jewish Community Relations Council are troubled by the recent Executive Order against refugees looking to come to the USA to escape the horrors of their war-torn countries. Historically, we are a country of immigrants who came to these shores to escape the horrors of war, to seek religious freedom, and to earn better opportunities for our families and succeeding generations. Jews have made innumerable contributions to American culture, arts, entertainment, science, government and more areas, and continue to do so. There were times when Jews were turned away from these shores. Like Moses, who saw the land and was not allowed to enter, we pray for those who wish to come here and live in peace, but are denied safe harbor. We urge President Trump and his administration to come to a resolution soon and to allow another generation of future citizens to add their uniqueness to the melting pot that is America. “You shall not wrong nor oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 22:20) Signed, ­­ Gary Delman, President, JFGT Scott Rothstein, Chair, JCRC