Ohio’s Proposed Immigration Plan Will Disadvantage Community

Affiliate: ACLU of Ohio
March 7, 2006 12:00 am

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Leaving Immigrants Out of Census Will Result in Funding Shortfalls, ACLU Says

COLUMBUS, OH- Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio warned legislators that a new plan to exclude immigrants from the census proposed by a group of Ohio lawmakers would harm communities and stretch scarce services for all Ohio families by not getting an accurate count of all those residing in the area.

“Thousands of immigrants work, raise families and pay taxes in Ohio. These legislators want to completely discount their contributions to communities by not including them in the next census,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link. “ Not only will this send a hurtful symbolic message to people providing for their families in Ohio, it will also seriously affect the amount of funding their community receives for things like education, roads, and other vital services.”

“With almost 175,000 non-citizens in Ohio, several communities could face losing substantial funds and be forced to stretch already tight budgets because not all of their population will be counted,” Link added.

Omitting those not born in the United States could also pose serious health and safety risks. Disaster recovery plans, disease management strategies and public health assessments all rely on data gleaned from the census report.

The bill could also have dire implications for the economy in Ohio. Many organizations rely on attracting talented workers from around the world to live and work in Ohio, including doctors, researchers, college professors, engineers and others. This proposal would communicate to these highly skilled people that they do not count in Ohio, despite their contributions.

“This proposal is not good for immigrants, communities, public health and safety or the economy in Ohio,” said Link. “Instead of restricting and punishing people, Ohioans should try bringing communities together and affecting positive change in our immigration system.”

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