Sep 13 – In Our Own Backyard:  The Immigration Crisis in Ohio 

This emergency conference of Unitarian Universalists will gather on Saturday to worship and learn together and to begin creating the foundations for an ongoing, collaborative Unitarian Universalist response to the immigration crisis as it is unfolding in Ohio.  Rev. Peter Morales, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, will be our preacher and special guest.

Aug 6 – May We Be Love’s Defenders: Take Action for Families Today!

Rev. Melissa Carvill-Ziemer tells us about her recent trip to Washington, DC to Stand on The Side of Love with Immigrants. Click here for story.

Model Policy for Law Enforcement Agencies

Contact Don Sherman  for a copy a policy and rationale for consideration by the Hamilton County sheriff that discourages notice to ICE in order to reduce detainer requests and save local resources.

Trip to the Border with UU College of Social Justice

Human rights are at stake on the US-Mexico border, and a UUCSJ Immigration Justice program is your chance to understand the issues. You’ll return home prepared and inspired to be a leader for immigration justice. Register now.

Upcoming Trips: Register now!

  • Love Knows No Borders: October 21–26, 2014 (apply by August 10, 2014), $800
  • Border Justice: February 13–16, 2015 (apply by December 14, 2014), $800
  • Theology and Justice: March 21–28, 2015 (apply by January 18, 2015), $1200


  • LULAC  League of United Latin American Citizens:  Columbus, Dayton Cincinnati, Don Sherman, First UU

Why Immigration Reform Can Become Law This Year

Washington, DC – As immigration reform advocates, we’re used to the pessimism of “conventional wisdom” and we’re used to conventional wisdom being wrong.  Rahm Emanuel once said that immigration reform was the “third rail of American politics,” yet the illegal immigration wedge strategy was a bust in every recent election.  Tom Tancredo made it his pet issue, left Congress to run for President and Governor, and failed at both.  After drafting the state’s “show me your papers” anti-immigration law, Arizona State senator Russell Pearce was recalled from office and lost again in his comeback bid.  Now he runs a website.

But perhaps the most cataclysmic example of conventional wisdom being wrong resides with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.  After years of being told it wasn’t possible, DREAMers and their allies finally achieved this momentous victory in June 2012, when President Obama decided to extend these talented young people a work permit and a measure of stability until Congress acts.  The political class said it wasn’t going to happen, but the DREAMers defied conventional wisdom and proved everyone wrong.

In 2013, broad, bipartisan immigration reform with a path to citizenship cleared the Senate with an historic 68-32 vote.  The only thing standing between this and a Rose Garden signing ceremony are House Republican leaders, who have a decision to make.  Do they follow the path taken in the Senate and allow a bipartisan majority to speak, or let the extremists in their caucus paralyze them and imperil their own political futures in the process?

Here are just a few reasons why we believe that “conventional wisdom” on immigration will prove to be wrong once again this year:

·         Republicans NEED to pass immigration reform for the future of their party—in 2014 and beyond.  With a series of polls showing majority support in favor of reform and with an ever-growing pro-immigration movement ready to deliver, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his Republican caucus have reason to be concerned about what will happen if reform fails.  A series of Latino Decisions tracking polls continue to show that immigration reform is a top priority issue for Latino voters (see Latino Decisions polls from March and June of this year).  And as their latest analysis shows, immigration will impact at least 14 Republican incumbents in the 2014 election cycle and more in 2016 as the Latino voting population continues to grow.  But it’s not just Latino Voters that House Republicans should be concerned about. New Public Policy Polling (PPP) polling in seven swing congressional districts shows broad popular support for immigration reform with a path to citizenship, even among Republican and Independent voters. It’s clear that what Republicans do in 2013 will influence electoral outcomes in 2014, and set the stage for 2016 and beyond.  As Americans for Tax Reform Founder Grover Norquist said, “The business communities want it.  The communities of faith want it.  The political consultant class, which tells you what the Republican Party needs, wants it.  Even if you can get re-elected in your monochromatic House district, you don’t get to govern” if immigration blocks a path to the White House.

·         There is already a majority in the House of Representatives that supports reform.  As various target lists show, reform supporters in the House far outnumber opponents.  According to the Huffington Post’s target list, there are 192 members who are a “likely yes” as compared to 104 who are a “likely no.”  And according to a list published by Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, the votes of nearly 100 Republicans could be in play.  It would only take a handful from that list to make 218 in the House and history for the GOP.

·         Republican voters support the same policy approach as Latinos.  Despite the fears that a “yes” vote in favor of reform will alienate the Republican base, a range of polling demonstrates that a majority of Republican voters – even those who show up in the primaries – support comprehensive immigration reform.  New polling of Republican primary voters, released by Americans for a Conservative Direction and conducted by Basswood Research, finds, per Huffington Post, “Most of the voters surveyed in this poll — 70 percent — said they are open to a bill that bolsters border security resources, requires employers to check on potential hires’ legal status and allows undocumented immigrants eventually to gain citizenship. If border security is coupled with legalization, 65 percent of Republican voters said they would support a path to citizenship, according to the poll.”

·         The GOP can improve their prospects with Latino voters, but first they have to deliver on immigration reform. The Republican Party has a real opportunity to improve their changes with Latino and the general public if they embrace reform.  As a  June Latino Decisions poll showed, immigration is a motivating issue for Latino voters, with 34% of Latino voters more likely to vote for the GOP if they work to pass immigration reform and 59% less likely to vote for the GOP if they try to block it.  The same poll showed that 52% said they would be more favorable to the Republican Party if they pass immigration reform, even if they disagree on other issues.  This includes 55% of prior GOP voters, 47% of Democrats and 60% of Independents.  Additionally, as yesterday’s PPP poll showed, per Politico, “Voters also said they were less likely to support Republican candidates in general next year if the GOP House members block the current immigration reform proposal.”  The Republican leadership has a clear choice to make: pass reform and share credit for doing so or keep the dysfunctional status quo and further tarnish it’s already damaged brand with the fastest growing groups of voters in America.

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform

UUA Immigration News



Click here for the March 7 Resolution


Adapted from the Cincinnati Resolution by Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio (UUJO).

EXPRESSING City Council’s commitment to improve the lives of immigrants in our community by promoting their public safety, family unity, healthy work environments, and greater participation in all aspects of the city; and

RECOGNIZING their many contributions and innovations to the local economy; and

ENCOURAGING the citizens of the City of _____________ to foster civility and respect for immigrants.

WHEREAS, many service workers, advocates, and policy makers who work directly with immigrants have seen the need that administrative procedures and public policies be crafted such that the rule of law is applied fairly to immigrants, so that their families remain together and as workers they can continue to contribute to America’s economy, by building a stronger economy for the City, County and the State of Ohio.

WHEREAS, absent national Comprehensive Immigration Reform, faith-based and other organizations favor local action to welcome immigrant students, professionals, workers and their families, while maintaining the rule of law in the spirit of the United States of America’s call to inclusion “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of many, one”), and encourage law enforcement agencies to use discretion when applying the rule of law.

WHEREAS, the Police Department must respond when undocumented immigrants and their families have been victims of crime and abuse. While caught in the middle of a broken federal immigration system, our officers must use sensible discretion towards such victims to promote safety in our city, and to seek emergency services and justice for these victims, and to build trust with our growing immigrant communities.

WHEREAS, more U-Visas creating a path to citizenship would also protect immigrants who are victims or witnesses of a crime so they can assist law enforcement officers in pursuing justice against offenders.

BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of _________________________ calls on the United States Congress and the Administration to pass and enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year that includes a path to citizenship; and encourages the City of ___________, other local governments in the state, and the Ohio General Assembly to promote initiatives to welcome the participation of immigrants more fully in the vitality of the state and our respective communities.

UUs for Immigrant Friendly Cities

UUJO representatives from Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus launched a statewide campaign UUs for Immigrant Friendly Cities and Villages at the February 18 Immigration Workshop in Delaware, Ohio.

Since Oct. 2011 the “Welcome Dayton” action plan has brought national recognition to one Ohio city as immigrant friendly.   UUs in Cincinnati have now joined an interfaith coalition lobbying for City Council adoption of an immigrant friendly resolution.

UUJO encourages its Congregational and individual members throughout the state to bring the campaign for immigrant friendly resolutions to Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Kent, Youngstown, Toledo and smaller cities.

Interfaith immigrant coalitions and secular organizations like the ACLU active at the state level may also have local projects that would benefit from UU partners.  If not, then activist UUs could take the lead in recruiting other groups in a collaborative lobbying effort.  See the draft model resolution and for additional campaign information from the UUJO Immigration Working Group.

For resources contact Welcome Dayton Program Coordinator Melissa Bertolo and go to



Immigrant and Human Rights Advocates Denounce  Anti-Immigrant Arizona-like Ohio HB 580   11/14/12

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio Immigrant rights organizations, human rights advocates, faith leaders, students and undocumented community members stand together to denounce House Bill 580, the Arizona-like bill sponsored by Rep. Combs. The bill will have a sponsor hearing Wednesday Nov 14th at 4:00 PM. The bill is before the House Transportation, Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee.

“I can’t believe this is happening in Ohio. This is not where the national sentiment is as far as immigrant rights and the move toward immigration reform, something is very wrong here”, stated Maritza Motino from LULAC Ohio.

The bill’s primary focus is the right for police officers to use “reasonable suspicion that an individual is an alien” and brings the same civil rights concerns to Ohio which has played out as racial profiling in states like Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and others.

 “This is old story thinking from old story minds such as that of Representative Courtney Combs,” stated community organizer and immigrant rights advocate, Ruben Castilla Herrera, “Frankly, as far as I’m concerned it’s the reintroduction of a bill based on ignorance, xenophobia and fear of the other,” he continued.

In the wake of the 2012 elections, which saw record levels of turnout among Latino voters, representatives of the Ohio Action Circle feel that Ohio’s elected officials should be working to find common ground for a real solution to the broken immigration system.

“It’s encouraging that Republicans and Democrats alike are now discussing the importance of passing legislation that provides opportunities for immigrants, whether it’s Congress working on a path to citizenship or Senate Bill 357 here in Ohio, which would provide equal access to education for undocumented children,” said Nick Torres of DREAMActivist Ohio. “Unfortunately, Representative Combs has long advocated for these sorts of punitive, divisive bills which move our state backwards,” he added.

The Ohio Action Circle remains committed to working with advocates across the State to push for policies that benefit Latinos and the immigrant communities throughout Ohio while speaking out against anti-immigrant legislation.



Share on Facebook

Leave a Reply