Immigration

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…


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…


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…


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


Protesting immigration edict at Detroit airport was a matter of family values

By KIRSTY SAYER BG Independent News Our van stuffed with kids aged 5 to 16 was light hearted as we brainstormed sign slogans and passed around Sharpies. But as we approached Detroit Metro airport there came inevitable pre-teen groan – “this is going to be so awkward”. Like any mom with pre-teens and teens, I’m always ready with an annoying comeback to deflect the predictable sighs of the all too horrifying prospect of “awkward”. “Yeah, maybe, imagine how awkward it must be to be stuck in an airport when you are five and kept away from your mom though? Or hey how about how awkward it must be to go to another country on business and find out you couldn’t return home a week later? “Besides, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, and to do stuff with other people in mind. It makes you feel alive. You’ll survive.  Let’s go.” As we approached the airport, the snow started falling heavily and we wondered if we would find that the protest had been downgraded to a few people milling around wondering “if this thing was still on.” Judge Donnelly’s emergency “stay” the night before had led many on the Facebook group to question if the crisis was over and that perhaps we could save our protests for the next outrage. Others assured us all that people were still being detained in airports, that the stay was incomplete and temporary and that they should come in solidarity with protests being held in…


Mazey pledges support for DACA, international students in wake of executive order on immigration

Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey issued  the following statement this morning.   Students, Faculty, and Staff: Fostering a culture of inclusion is a core value of Bowling Green State University. Our University community is greatly enriched by our international students and faculty, and by students who were admitted under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. BGSU recognizes that a number of members of our University community face uncertainty about their immigration status or U.S. visas. I want to assure you that BGSU will do everything it can to support them and advocate on their behalf. Last Friday, President Trump issued a new executive order that, among other things, temporarily bans citizens of seven countries from entering the United States. Like other universities across the country, we are still evaluating the executive order and its ramifications. We have reached out to affected students and advised them not to make plans to leave the U.S. until there is more clarity on the issue. Students, faculty or staff with questions can contact Marcia Salazar-Valentine with International Programs and Partnerships at international@bgsu.edu or at  419-372-2247. The Counseling Center is also available to provide support and resources. BGSU will be advocating for affected students and all members of our international community with our representatives in Congress and in collaboration with Ohio’s Inter-University Council, the Association of American Universities, and other higher education organizations. As some of you may know, DACA students are individuals who immigrated to the U.S. as young…


BG stands together with banned immigrants

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This is not the America to which Lady Liberty welcomed the huddled masses. This is not the country where Gale Swanka grew up, or for which Mohammad Shalabe left his homeland. But this is becoming the America where people like Swanka, Shalabe and crowds across the nation are being motivated to stand together to protest executive orders from President Donald Trump. In Bowling Green, more than 250 gathered Sunday evening in the green space at West Wooster and South Church streets to rise up, resist and rebel. They came bundled for the cold, carrying signs reading “No hate, no fear. Everyone is welcome here.” Or “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” They chanted, “No ban. No wall,” and “We need a leader – not a creepy tweeter.” They came with concerns, even shame, over their country’s latest actions against natives of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. “I know what it means to be left out,” said Dr. Eileen Cherry-Chandler, an African American woman who held a sign saying, “I’m with the banned.” Cherry-Chandler said she was outraged at Trump’s ban on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the U.S. for three months, and an extended ban on Syrian refugees. “These people are innocent. These people are fleeing from ISIS,” she said. “We need Muslims in order to win this war on terror.” Cherry-Chandler has been horrified by Trump’s actions in his first week in office. “He…


BG votes to condemn discrimination of Muslims

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG  Independent News   Bowling Green was told it could be better – and City Council accepted the challenge. The failure of a sanctuary campus proposal at BGSU Tuesday afternoon was followed by the passage of an anti-discrimination resolution by BG City Council that same evening. One by one, students of color walked to the podium at the packed city council meeting, to tell of their negative experiences and their positive hopes. “I came from a country where I was tear gassed,” during the Arab Spring uprisings, said Amira Hassnaoui, a BGSU student from Tunisia. She came to a country where she could be free – or so she believed. “This is a dream land where everybody can be who they are.” There is no tear gas here, but Hassnaoui is again finding herself fighting for rights. “I’m going to fight for social justice in the U.S.,” and speak out for those unable to, she said. Hassnaoui, who is president of the BGSU Graduate Student Senate, said while she does not wear a hijab, some of her Muslim friends do. She told of walking around a local business, and being followed then questioned by the manager. “This resolution should be passed. Nobody should walk in fear because of who they are,” she told city council. Hassnaoui said she worries about her mother and brother traveling to the U.S. for her graduation. Her mother wears a hijab and does not speak English, and her brother is dark…


Mazey rejects sanctuary campus proposal

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Several dozen  protestors, a mix of students, faculty and community residents, lined the sidewalk leading to the main entrance of McFall ready to greet those arriving for Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting to support making Bowling Green State University a sanctuary campus. The petition calls on the university to refuse to cooperate with immigration officials in deporting anyone in the country without proper documents, to not assist any federal officers in gathering information about immigration status, and to “require that on-campus recruiters from the Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement use civilian clothing, bring no weapons, and drive no official vehicles.” The protestors wanted the senate to support the petition, but Michaela Walsh, who originated it, said the senate’s executive committee did not place it on the agenda. She said a senator could bring it up under the issues portion of the agenda. That did not happen. The idea is to pressure President Mary Ellen Mazey and the university’s board of trustees to support the sanctuary plan. In her address to the senate, Mazey said she did not support the petition. As a public institution, the university required to obey the law. In an interview after the meeting, Mazey said that the university will continue to support students covered by the provisions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, just as it supports all students. Mazey said there are 11 DACA students on campus, and noted that they received…