On Monday, March 11th, we drove to Quaker Square in Akron to listen to U.S. Congressperson Tim Ryan (Democrat-Ohio’s 13th District) speak before the Akron Press Club. We made a special effort to attend because we have always admired U.S. Congressperson Ryan because he is a strong advocate for comprehensive immigration reform as well as being a strong supporter of such progressive measures like H.R. 6135 aka the “Keep Families Together Act” introduced last year in response to the policy of separating undocumented families at the U.S./Mexican border.
During lunch, we shared a table with Ms. Donna Skoda, the Health Commissioner of Summit County, and Mr. Andrew DeFratis, Communications and Public Policy Director of the Greater East Ohio Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, who recalled meeting us at an Engage! Cleveland event that took place last year in the Rainforest at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
Mr. Kelvin E. Berry, Director of Economic Development and Community Relations at Kent State University was also sitting at our table, and we had a very enlightening conversation about how the policies of the current administration have affected the number of international students attending KSU. He impressed us as a very compassionate man and we promised to invite him to our holiday party at Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC so we can introduce him to Ms. Wong herself.
Another person who recognized us right away was of course U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan who we have encountered as several venues over the years.
During his address, Mr. Ryan expressed his great concern that the current political divide is damaging the United States not only domestically but internationally; so much so that the United States is at risk of losing its standing as the a world leader, both economically and militarily. Along these lines, the he addressed such issues as the federal budget, income inequality, education, criminal justice, the environment, health care, and workers whose positions have been terminated especially as it pertained to the closing of the Youngstown-area GM plant. He contended, however, that there are creative solutions for all of these troubled areas. But, in order to implement them, all sides must stop viciously quarreling and start constructive dialogue; even though they may not generally agree, Mr. Ryan firmly believed that some common ground could be found.
Accordingly, he declared that he was “exhausted” from having to pick and choose sides and issued a call for unity comparing current times to the period back in the late 1950’s when the Russians launched Sputnik causing both the public and the private sectors in the United States to come together to face the challenge.
Regarding immigration, we were heartened to learn that in February, 2019, U.S. Congressman Ryan introduced legislation to oppose the national emergency. As a press release from his office reads, “create a non-partisan nine member commission to review the U.S. immigration system and border security. The Commission would make recommendations to Congress for improving security at the borders and ports of entry and reform of the immigration system at large.”
The press release also quoted U.S. Congressperson Ryan as saying that the commission created by his legislation would “examine the current state of the U.S. border security screening programs, technology and physical infrastructure, as well as operations related to drug interdiction, migrant detention, and the processing of asylum seekers and refugees…the Commission will also examine every aspect of our immigration system-from visas, lotteries, and immigration courts to DREAMers and a pathway to citizenship. The commission will then make informed nonpartisan recommendations to Congress from which we can develop comprehensive immigration reform.”