Press Release: September 3, 2021
CINCINNATI, OH – Yesterday, over 50 immigrant leaders and community activists from the Immigrant Dignity Coalition rallied outside Senator Rob Portman’s office to demand a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. The rally set the tone leading into Labor Day weekend, reminding the community of why immigrant workers and their families need access to citizenship.
“We’re people like you that have dreams and we want to make those dreams come true and help our families,” shared Horacio, a small business owner originally from Mexico.
The Immigrant Dignity Coalition is wrapping up a 14-week summer campaign that amassed over 350 calls and emails to Senators Portman (R-OH), Brown (D-OH), Paul (R-KY), McConnell (R-KY), Young (R-IN) and Braun (R-IN). The Senate has a unique opportunity to advance several pieces of legislation that would allow thousands of families in the Greater Cincinnati area to have the chance to apply for citizenship.
Abdoul, an immigrant from the West African country of Mauritania explained, “We are here today again to fight for those people who don’t have their rights yet. We need everybody in this country who doesn’t have legal status yet to get these rights. It’s time for Congress to act for immigration, to finish this case.”
The Summer of Citizenship for All campaign featured 17 unique stories from the immigrant community, representing the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mauritania, Mexico, and Peru. Stories from families and children, students and their teachers, first generation college graduates, essential workers, healthcare workers, DACA and TPS recipients, and more were lifted up each week on social media to highlight why the Greater Cincinnati community needs citizenship.
“I immigrated when I was about 5 years old. My parents brought me because my health was not very good and it was not treated very well in Mexico. Ever since I immigrated I didn’t know that I was undocumented until probably when I was in 6th or 7th grade,” shared Sandra, a local DACA recipient.
It is clear that immigrant families need citizenship. Of the over 40 volunteers who worked on the campaign through the Immigrant Dignity Coalition, 78% were members of the local immigrant community. Citizenship matters to Greater Cincinnatians and our elected officials have real, concrete opportunities in front of them to help.
Right now, Congress is in the middle of negotiating the budget reconciliation package, which currently includes a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, essential workers, farmworkers and more. Local activists want to ensure that the process does not harm one group of immigrants in favor of protecting another. For DACA recipients, it is imperative to not put additional restrictions to punish the parents while offering citizenship to their children.
For the 30 organizations in the Immigrant Dignity Coalition, the need for Citizenship for All is bigger than ever.
About the Immigrant Dignity Coalition
Convened by the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC), Immigrant Dignity Coalition’s purpose is to inform, connect, and mobilize the Southwest Ohio / Northern Kentucky community to defend and protect the dignity of the immigrant and refugee community by working in partnership and as allies. Coalition members include: 3R Fund for Immigrant Family Legal Defense, Inc., AJC Cincinnati, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association Ohio State Chapter, Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center (CIWC), Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship, Cincinnati Senegalese Union, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Cincinnati Chapter (CAIR-Cincinnati), Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Cincinnati, and St. John’s Unitarian Universalist Church.