Ahead of Primary, Local Leaders Urge Better Immigration Conversation

Communications Associate

March 15, 2016

DAYTON, Ohio —Local leaders gathered Monday evening in Dayton for a constructive conversation on immigrants and immigration.

Speakers at the “America Is Better: Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform” panel discussion highlighted the important contributions of immigrants in our communities and economy. Panelists also emphasized the need for broad immigration reform.

Other “America Is Better” events have taken place in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

“Our community members are best served when law enforcement officials consider the public safety interests of the community as a whole. We know that when someone fears approaching police officials to report a crime or to ask for assistance, the entire community’s safety is compromised,” said Chief Richard Biehl of the Dayton Police Department. “Comprehensive immigration reform that brings immigrant community members out of the shadows will strengthen public safety, as the immigrant community will no longer have a reason to fear undue repercussions from these encounters. They will instead have the freedom to cooperate in the protection of their community without the constant threat of deportation.”

“Through our advocacy and support of the Welcome Dayton initiative, the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce has also worked hard to make our community a dynamic, safe and promising place for immigrants. As entrepreneurs, business owners and a much-needed skilled workforce, immigrants are and will always be an important and valuable part of the economic vitality of our region,” said Philip Parker, President and CEO, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“America needs comprehensive immigration reform to modernize our visa system so that families do not have to make a choice between being separated from their loved ones, often for decades, while their visas are processed or making a dangerous and unauthorized trip to the United States without a visa,” said Kathleen Kersh, Immigration Attorney, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Dayton. “So many undocumented people in the U.S. do not have a ‘line’ to get into, such as parents of young, U.S. citizen children or people who have certain grounds of inadmissibility. Any successful immigration plan will bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows to keep families together and support businesses and industries facing labor shortages.”