Summit County Council on Jan. 30 passed a resolution opposing President Donald Trump's executive order limiting immigration and refugee resettlement. The resolution was sponsored by County Executive Ilene Shapiro, Council President John Schmidt (D-2) and Council Member At-Large Liz Walters (D).
The resolution was approved by a 9-2 vote, with Council members Ron Koehler (R-1) and Gloria Rodgers (R-3) casting the dissenting votes.
"Diversity in our country should be celebrated, not subjugated," said Schmidt. "We hope this resolution will send a message that Summit County welcomes and supports our immigrant community."
On Jan. 27 President Trump signed an executive order suspending entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barring Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocking entry into the United States for 90 days to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
"The American culture has a long and proud history of expanding to find room for new cultures and traditions," said Walters. "Whether we were born here or not, or whether we speak English or are just learning it, what matters most is that we, foreign and native born alike, all want the same thing the freedom to speak, to pray, and to raise our children with hope. To suspend the resettlement program, and ban certain nationalities from our country, is a dramatic departure from these ideals."
Koehler said he voted against the resolution "because it does not represent the position of the citizens of Summit County."
He noted the resolution was presented shortly before the Council meeting and added he believed most of his colleagues did not read President Trump's executive order.
"President Trump promised to take this action when he was a candidate," said Koehler. "The American people elected him, in part, because they knew he would take action to prevent our enemies from entering this country. I am disappointed that my colleagues on Council rubber-stamped this resolution. They should have given the citizens an opportunity to voice their opinions on this issue, instead of rushing passage."
President Trump's executive order was also opposed by Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown.
Gov. Kasich has called for a "more thoughtful approach consistent with our values," Sen. Brown has said that the targeting of refugees is "wrong, will not make America safer, and may actually undermine our long-term security," and Sen. Portman has said that "we are more welcoming than any country in the world and we should continue to be so," according to a County Council news release.
The Clerk of Summit County Council will forward a copy of the resolution to President Trump, Senators Brown and Portman, and all members of the U.S. House of Representatives representing portions of Summit County.
In 2015, County Council passed a resolution declaring the county an immigrant-friendly, welcoming county, and supported the county's participation in the Welcoming Cities and Counties Project. Summit County committed to accept 700 refugees in fiscal year 2017 before President Trump's executive order, according to the news release.