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La Conexión takes Rep. Latta to task on Immigration and need of reform

By La Prensa Staff

Bowling Green-based La Conexión and its youth group is pressuring Congressman Bob Latta (R-Fifth District) over his use of language in the immigration debate they claim dehumanizes current immigrants and asylum seekers and compares them to drug traffickers.

The group protested outside the offices of Congressman Latta just before meeting with his staff and delivering a letter Monday afternoon, November 22, 2021. The Northwest Ohio Immigrant Rights Network also joined the protest. The groups find language used in a letter sent by Latta and 74 other Republican members of Congress and published in a Bowling Green newspaper November 1 to be discriminatory.

That letter took issue with a proposal from the Biden administration for payments to migrants who had crossed the southern United States border—without documentation—in 2018. Latta stressed the need for immigrants to use proper legal channels to come to the U.S.

“The so-called proper channels are extremely limited, or non-existent, and that is why we have this issue for so many people who are out of status,” said Beatriz Maya, La Conexion director. “Employers keep needing workers and the workers come and the system keeps working outside the so-called proper channels and that is why we are encouraging Congressman Latta to focus on providing solutions to this issue, instead of spending time scapegoating immigrants.”

Ms. Maya emphasized the last meaningful immigration reform occurred 35 years ago, save for executive orders by past U.S. presidents.

The protestors claim language used by Rep. Latta and others in the letter demonizes asylum seekers and immigrants by unfairly comparing them to drug traffickers and cartels. The group takes issue with the continued use of the tern “illegals” by Latta and others, claiming its use inspires public fear, feeds tension, and dehumanizes their contribution to the communities where they live and the economy as a whole. It also connotes a legal conclusion which has yet to be determined by legal officials.

“We have to have a system where people can come here legally,” Latta told the Bowling Green Sentinel Tribune Monday. “We can’t have a system where you just cross the southern border.”

Latta did agree to some degree with Ms. Maya, calling the immigration system severely backlogged, outdated, underfunded and understaffed. Latta paid a visit to some immigration facilities six months ago, and expressed concern for people trying to cross the border and being taken advantage of.

 “It’s an unmitigated disaster that is occurring down there. When you are having people pay $3,000-$4,000 to these traffickers to bring them up, and then we know that there’s murder, we know that there’s rape and we know that there are people who are put into servitude once they get here,” Latta told the Sentinel Tribune. “So we’ve got to have a system where people can get here legally.”

La Conexión’s director contends there are strong economic reasons to encourage immigration reform, particularly a worker shortage in Northwest Ohio and elsewhere. Ms. Maya cited an aging workforce and people of working age leaving the region as sources of that shortage. She is encouraging immigration reform as a means to grow the workforce.

“You and our members of Congress even now still have an opportunity to open up paths to citizenship for over 11 million in this country. Options for paths to citizenship have been introduced to Congress for essential workers, farm workers, and others who have been the bedrock of our most crucial services during this pandemic,” stated the letter the groups dropped off to Latta’s office.



Copyright © 1989 to 2021 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11/23/21 20:18:49 -0800.





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