Immigration

Leah Bogusch – Separation of families echoes what was done to Indigenous children

I attended the Keeping Families Together rally this past weekend at Bowling Green, and I could not find the words to say to the attendees what was on my mind at the moment. But if I had been able to speak to you, Bowling Green, I would have told you that we were standing upon the traditional land of the Haudenosaunee and Miami nations. This land is not your land, and it was not made for you, even though you all sang this song with love and good intentions in your hearts.  If I had been able to speak to you, I would have told you that separation of children from families is not new within the United States – many Indigenous children in the not-so-distant past were ripped from their families to attend boarding schools and to die there far from home. I would have echoed Ms. Maya’s words when she called upon us to look at the United States’ policies of interfering with countries in Central and South America, to exploit their people and extract resources. These policies have inevitably contributed to conditions of poverty and violence in these nations, which have led so many people to our doorstep to escape.  Today, I ask you to acknowledge that cruelty and greed are exactly the values upon which the United States was founded and the responsibility that this nation shares in creating the immigrant crisis. I implore you to make the United States the beacon of hope and compassion that it can and should be. Remember the larger context in which this nation has negatively affected other peoples for its own profit, and take action, even when the immigrant crisis fades from media attention, to prevent such policies from continuing. Leah Bogusch Bowling Green

Read More

Local man jailed by ICE as family fights his deportation

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A traffic stop has landed a local man in jail, with the next stop likely deportation back to Mexico for being an undocumented immigrant. He has left behind three children who are U.S. citizens, a wife who has just been diagnosed with Lupus, and a local employer who is unlikely to find a documented American to take his place in the fields. “Who’s winning with this,” said Beatriz Maya, from La Conexion of Wood County, who is trying to help both the family left behind and the husband being held in Geauga County jail which has a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “We are losing a hardworking person, who is honest and never took anything,” Maya said. The family has lost its breadwinner, and the farmer has lost a worker. “Who’s winning?” Fearful that they might be targeted by ICE, since the mother is also an undocumented immigrant, the family wanted to tell their story without revealing their names. Though the three children, ages 11, 14 and 16, are all proficient in English, their mom speaks primarily Spanish, so Maya provided translation  at the family’s kitchen table in their very modest home that they hope to hang onto. The family’s story is complicated, with one unwavering detail – the father being held by ICE and likely to be deported is a hard-working man. The father came to the U.S. in 1996 to pick crops in Florida. Starting in 2002, he began migrating between Ohio and Florida to hit harvest seasons. At age 38, he has picked oranges, apples, strawberries, cucumbers and pumpkins, his wife said. He started working picking crops on a large farm in Wood County, then changed jobs to work at a local dairy which meant year-round work so their children did not have to move during the school year. His latest job was working at an area orchard. By all accounts, the man is a hard worker, with his previous employers often trying to get him back, Maya said. He is quiet, barely…


BGSU’s Bruce Collet has advice on how to help immigrants assimilate

By ROBIN STANTON GERROW for  BGSU Office of  Marketing & Communications As the Western world sees a new influx of immigrants, many with strong religious affiliations, countries are grappling with how to help them acculturate into their new societies. Dr. Bruce Collet, associate professor in the Bowling Green State University School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy and coordinator of the Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural and International Education program in the College of Education and Human Development, sees the important role public schools have in this process. In his new book, “Migration, Religion, and Schooling in Liberal Democratic States” (Routledge, 2018) he lays out recommendations on how these institutions can help facilitate immigrants’ integration. Drawing from political philosophy, the sociology of migration and the philosophy of education, Collet argues that public schools in liberal democratic states can best facilitate the pluralistic integration of religious migrant students through adopting policies of recognition and accommodation that are not only reasonable in light of liberal democratic principles, but also informed by what we understand regarding the natural role religion often plays in acculturation. Collet posits the question of how public schools in liberal democratic states — those that place a high value on freedom and autonomy — can help immigrants and refugees create a “sense of belongingness” to their new homes. “It really is about how educational policymakers and teachers can better understand the connection between religion and acculturation,” he said. Collet’s interest in this issue stems from a combination of scholarly work and personal experience. “My parents were emblematic of the 1960s,” he said. “They wanted to throw off the constraints of the ’50s. We moved to Madison, Wisconsin, when I was 7, and the journey for them was spiritual in a way not available to them when they were growing up. At a very early age, I saw the connection between migration and faith, as my mother, who was involved in the Quaker movement, worked with Central American refugees. Later, for my dissertation, I worked with Somali immigrants in the Toronto area on the relationship between the migration experience…


Film series at Gish Theater explores exile & migration across continents

From BGSU INTERNATIONAL FILM SERIES “Exile and Migration” will be the theme of International Film Series in the Gish Theater in Hanna Hall on the Bowling Green State University campus. The films will be screened in the theater on Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m. except on April 13 when the film begins at 8. The series explores exile and migration in feature films and documentaries from around the world, including from the US. The second film, “Earth” by Indian-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta, will deal with “partition” that divided India and Pakistan in 1947. Another focuses on North African migration to West Germany in the 1970s. “The Second Migration” (African-American migration from the South to the Northern cities) will be featured in a documentary in addition to the Zainichi, Korean migrants living in Japan and affiliated with North Korea. A Cuban film, “Balseros,” about the rafters who attempted to migrate to the US, is also scheduled. We end with a contemporary Senegalese film about migration via the Atlantic to Spain. The films will be introduced by the filmmakers on March 22 and 29 or by BGSU faculty members.   On 22 March, the film viewing will be preceded by a reception at 6:30 in front of the Gish Theater in the hallway.  For the second film screening with the filmmaker present (March 29), a second reception will be held after the screening. This is the last semester before the Gish will be relocated to the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Scheduled films are: MARCH 22 “Persona Non Grata” (2015) Directed by Cellin Gluck, Japan Moving biopic about Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, sometimes called a “Japanese Schindler,” who issued several thousand visas to Jewish refugees in Lithuania before 1941. The film made its U.S. debut at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival in 2016. MARCH 23 “Earth” (1999) Directed by Deepa Meethe, Canada/India This award-winning period drama is set in Lahore (Pakistan) during the 1947 partition separating India and Pakistan. One of the few films to explore the haunting ramifications of Partition, it focuses on the point of view of a young girl torn between allegiances….


BG tries to remove barriers to ‘welcoming city’ status

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Last year, the city of Bowling Green declared itself a “welcoming community” for immigrants. While the spirit is there, it appears being welcoming is easier said than done. The resolution passed by City Council proclaims “Bowling Green as a welcoming and safe community for immigrants and condemning any discrimination, harassment or unjustified deportation of immigrant residents of Bowling Green.” To show the significance of the resolution, after its adoption, a group of city residents read a portion of the resolution in Vietnamese, Indian, Hindi, German, Chinese, Italian, Spanish and English. But now what? Members of the solidarity committee of La Conexion recently discussed how to break down barriers for local immigrants, and how to make them aware of Bowling Green’s “welcoming” status. A task force has been working to identify the barriers to attracting and maintaining immigrants in the city, according to Beatriz Maya, of La Conexion. Those include access to work, documentation, housing, transportation, social support systems and language. Many Latinos struggle with housing. “If you are a newcomer, you don’t have a credit history,” Maya said. “We like to save and buy, save and buy. But here, you have to have debt.” Language courses are offered through La Conexion and other organizations, and translators are available with the police. “We have a good relationship with the police,” she said. One of the motivations behind the “welcoming” declaration is the community’s shortage of labor. “We need immigrant workers because we need workers,” Maya said. But how can the city get the word out that it is “welcoming.” “How do we make this welcoming city more visible,” Maya said. “Not a lot of people know that Bowling Green is a welcoming city.” Amanda Schackow, of La Conexion, agreed that visibility is a big concern. “They can make all of these changes, but if that message isn’t reaching immigrants, they might as well not be there,” Schackow said. One idea of the task force is to create a “welcoming committee” that would connect newly arriving immigrants with “navigators”…


DACA deadline nears with fate of Dreamers in question

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It is now less than two weeks until the DACA program is set to expire. Meanwhile, the people who came to the U.S. as small children continue to be used as a political football by politicians, according to Beatriz Maya, of the La Conexion organization in Wood County. “It would be a miracle if they could come up with something meaningful in a few days,” Maya said Sunday as members of the La Conexion Solidarity Committee met. “We are expecting the worst.” However, the rulings of two federal courts are keeping the DACA program on life support, explained Amanda Schackow, also of La Conexion. The court rulings are at least allowing renewals, but no one new can be added to DACA. This has local immigrants and their advocates frustrated and fearful. “The Republicans promised to come out with a fix for DACA. That did not happen,” Schackow said. “The Dream Act was not even a conversation.” Ten different attempts at legislation are “floating around,” she said. “There’s no concrete piece of legislation.” Compromise is difficult, with President Donald Trump’s insistence on a border wall, reduction in the total number of immigrants coming in, limits on family members allowed, and an end to the diversity program, Schackow said. Since little can be done about the legislation in limbo, the La Conexion Solidarity Committee has been preparing local families for possible deportation by getting the proper documentation for the children born in the U.S. from Dreamers. “They need to prepare for that terrible eventuality,” Schackow said. Deportations of non-criminal undocumented immigrants have gone up 40 percent in the past year, Schackow said. According to ABLE (Advocates for Basic Legal Equality), the top trigger for deportations is traffic stops. Ten or so states allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses. But Ohio does not. Those immigrants are often turned over to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Undocumented immigrants are given identification numbers with the IRS, so they can pay taxes on their income – but they are not allowed to…


Local residents persist – return to march for rights

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Andrea Killy-Knight would rather not have to march again next January. “I hope I don’t have to put on my ‘Nasty Woman’ shirt and wave my same signs next year,” Killy-Knight said after this year’s Unity March in Toledo on Sunday. But if she has to march, Killy-Knight and many other Bowling Green residents will put on their pink hats and their walking shoes. “I’ll do it again next year. But I hope the circumstances are different,” she said. Sunday’s march was the second for many local residents who peacefully protested everything from women’s rights to immigration wrongs. For Killy-Knight, who marched in Ann Arbor, Michigan, last year, that meant re-enlisting her sign from a previous rally that read “Your silence will not protect you.” “It was funny, in a disgusting way,” that the signs from last year were still applicable for this march, she said. Sandy Rowland was also in Ann Arbor last year and Toledo this year. “There’s still a big need to let government know that we have a voice, and we have needs that need to be filled,” she said. Armed with her sign that said, “Hate has no home here,” Rowland said this year’s march may not have been as thrilling as last year – but it was a clear sign of unity and strength. “It was very rejuvenating,” she said. “Women have their place. They have their rights.” Joining in the march were also many men and families with children – numbering close to 1,000. “It was a great unified voice,” Rowland said. Maria Simon made up for missing last year’s march by joining in the event on Sunday. “I was at a conference in Atlanta last year,” she said. “It was hard to not be in solidarity with everyone. That’s one of the reasons I really didn’t want to miss this one.” Simon donned her pink hat, and carried her sign stating, “Make America Proud Again,” and “Power to the Polls.” Her favorite sign at the march read “Also, everything…