A “Dear Patriots” letter, sent from Buckeye Tea Party activists, called the faithful to anti-illegal immigration rallies scheduled in eight cities across the state this weekend, including one on Friday in Columbus, Ohio. Reporters from Plunderbund were there to capture the action.
“We are a nation of immigrants, but none the less, as a nation we must protect our sovereignty,” read the letter. “That means that we have actual borders, and that we can decide who comes into our nation and who does not come into our nation. We support LEGAL Immigration. But we do not support Illegal Immigration or Amnesty for those who come here illegally – even if it is at the invitation of our President who clearly does not believe in our sovereignty.”
And this weekend, the letter said, is the time to do it, adding that “there will be protests against the ‘Border Surge’ all over the nation” and that the time has come to start “standing up for American Sovereignty and letting our elected officials know where we stand.”
The handful of people who showed up around noon for the protest at the Ohio Statehouse were told by public officials that they had to move from the Statehouse steps to the sidewalk along High Street because no permit for a rally had been sought. The interaction began with an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper and cascaded up to a representative of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB), the group that operates and maintain the Statehouse and surrounding grounds. Luke Stedke of CSRAB told Roderick Clay, a protester who was holding a sign saying “Illegal Immigration is a crime,” that he had to move off Statehouse grounds. Clay and others with him sauntered to High Street. Stedke said the typical turnaround for permits takes about three days.
Clay told Plunderbund that he’s heard reports that thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people, and especially children, were crossing the border. The facilities many of the adults and children were living in, he described as similar to “concentration camps.” Clay wants the children to be sent back to their home countries to be reunited with their parents. “I’m not sure why this is happening,” he said, adding, “This is not a good thing for these children.”
Clay said he’s been told that there is no “health screening for health problems” and that “some are contagious.” He said he’s heard that even some border guards have contracted diseases, and that Mexican gangs are recruiting from the teenage population. “Our civil government is breaking the law,” he said, arguing that the federal government can’t choose which laws it wants to enforce or break.
But Clay got an unexpected counter offensive from Ruben Castilla Herrera, a member of the Ohio Interfaith Immigration Coalition, who jumped into Clay’s explanation to Plunderbund. Herrera, who said he does immigrant rights’ work, said protesters like Clay need to understand what they’re saying when they go on the record. Ignorance and even hate, he said, are often times the basis for standing against immigrants. “When it’s based on hate and wrapped around patriotism, even Christianity, there’s something wrong with that,” he said. America’s foreign policy in central America, Herrera said, be it for want of bananas or fruit, coffee or oil, some times takes years to bite back. The situation on the border today, he said, is an example of that.
“People are afraid to be in their homes, there is violence, and people can’t find a way to live,” he said, noting there are “lots of economic reasons” for the kind of tragedy playing itself out on the border with Mexico. “I’m just here for justice.”
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John Michael Spinelli is a communications professional and former credentialed Ohio statehouse journalist with a professional background in economic development and experience working with the Ohio Senate, the Ohio Public Works Commission and the Office of Ohio Secretary of State. John is one of Ohio’s leading independent reporters and journalists, and a regular contributor to Plunderbund.com and AllVoices.com.
You can contact John Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org