A public forum will take place Aug. 13 at Lake Erie College to discuss two resolutions proposed by the Lake County Commissioners last week regarding the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
The forum is open to the public. Rules for the forum will be presented that evening.
Commissioners Dan Troy, Jerry Cirino and President John Hamercheck have been invited to the event.
At the commissioners’ last regular meeting Aug. 2 the two resolutions were tabled after many Lake County residents, and a few Cuyahoga County residents, voiced opposition.
Troy and Hamercheck voted for the tabling, while Cirino voted “nay.”
Troy proposed the resolution urging reform, while Cirino proposed the resolution expressing support for the federal agency.
“I get tired of hearing about all of these people, and these irresponsible politicians, calling for the elimination of ICE,” Cirino said. “And I thought, I know one thing about Lake County, we like safety and law enforcement in our community. This is not partisan issue, and this is not an immigrant issue.”
Cirino also said he saw no point in tabling the measures.
“I’m not in favor of this,” he added. “Opinions may not change significantly in two weeks. Like it or not, this is a local issue, maybe not administratively, but there is an impact.”
Troy also questioned the timeliness of the measure framed by Cirino.
“I’m concerned why this resolution is coming up (now),” Troy said, who is on the November ballot. “I think maybe it has a little bit to do with the fact that we’re in the silly season of politics, and that we can get somebody to cast a vote the wrong way, and we can say, ‘He’s for open borders and not protecting our country.’
“Look, the abolition of ICE isn’t going to happen. There are strong opinions on either side. We need public dialogue and we need to respect the differences of opinions. Sen. (John) McCain and former President (George) Bush also support comprehensive immigration reform. We need logic, facts and voices of reason.”
In response to all three commissioners suggesting a public “weigh-in,” Painesville resident Lois Osborn spearheaded those efforts, inviting both opponents and proponents of the resolutions to attend.
“A lot of people (in this room) do not think the efforts of ICE have been heroic in separating families and children and putting them in detention centers,” Osborn said.
Cirino pointed to Osborn’s examples of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” border policy as isolated situations, and reminded the public of other parent-child separations.
“Of course, there are consequences,” he said. “I challenge you to think about that and those kids who are taken away from their parents for breaking laws, not just those coming through our relatively open borders.”
While opponents said elected officials shouldn’t espouse their personal political beliefs, Painesville Township resident John Muzik, who supports the pro-ICE resolution, said government officials should agree with the laws of this country.
“If you don’t like the laws, get them changed. But people who break the laws, they’re the ones breaking up families, not the laws themselves.”