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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cuyahoga County Residents Need to be First Priority

From Cuyahoga County Council Candidate John Currid --

There is a crisis on our southern border and although we watch the news coverage from afar, I fear a situation where the failure of Washington, D.C. will have a dramatic impact right here in Cuyahoga County. This is why I recently wrote a letter to Councilwoman Sunny Simon asking her to immediately introduce legislation that would prevent county funds, resources, or personnel from being used to support a federal relocation program of illegal immigrants. Although the Councilwoman and I are opponents in November, I felt we needed to stand together on this issue. While we might disagree on many issues, making Cuyahoga County residents our priority should be one we can agree.

So what does this have to do with Cuyahoga County and its residents? The federal government could relocate some of illegal immigrants to Cuyahoga County to utilize the Federal Immigration Court located in Cleveland or for some other unrelated reason. Recently in Tennessee their governor only became aware of thousands of illegal immigrants relocated to his state after the fact through news reports. The federal government is bussing illegal immigrants to counties and states nationwide especially to states currently facing real hardships. I recently watched a report identifying four relocation locations in Michigan; meanwhile the state’s largest city, Detroit, is under state control, is in default, and going through bankruptcy. The city’s public water service is $6 Billion in debt and almost 100,000 accounts are past due. While I do not condone the past due balances any resources or funds the city, county or state might have should go to secure basic civil services for low-income families who could soon go without water or sewer service instead the state is now burdened with the federal governments own failure.

I want to ensure that if the federal government does relocate illegal immigrants here in our county, it is clear that Cuyahoga County is not left paying the cost or diverting resources away from the mission of serving the county residents. As I travel through the six cities in the eleventh district of Cuyahoga County, I hear many wonderful stories of hope and success. However, it is also apparent that many of our neighborhoods have seen misfortunate and are going through tough times. The children, the elderly, and the low-income residents of Cuyahoga County deserve our undivided attention. We have our own crisis occurring on many streets, in schools, and throughout many neighborhoods of this county. Anything short of our undivided attention would be irresponsible and not acceptable.

The people who are on the front lines of serving the needy and under-privileged children and families of Cuyahoga County are members of the faith community, non-profit leaders, and other local leaders. When I meet with them one of the first concerns they share with me relates to the delays, red tape, and inefficiencies they face when working with county departments. While I believe the county is working hard to provide better services to its residents, we have a lot of work to do; now is not the time to redirect resources away from these departments. 

I want to be clear, this is not an issue about immigration; this is an issue about county resources and county residents. In my opinion, elected officials of Cuyahoga County government should make you, the residents, their first priority when allocating resources and funds. While the overall immigration situation is a crisis and deserves our full attention, immigration is ultimately a federal issue. Senators Portman & Brown as well as our local Congressman or Congresswoman are the folks we should be addressing those opinions. For this specific issue I am calling on Councilwoman Simon to stand with me and prioritize the children and families of this county above illegal immigrants should the federal government attempt to pass off their responsibility. 


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