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Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Representing the 3rd District of Ohio

Congresswoman Beatty Holds Central Ohio-Mauritanian Listening Session

Oct 9, 2018
Press Release

COLUMBUS, OH. – U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) recently convened a meeting with members of Central Ohio’s growing Mauritanian community, nonprofits, national experts, and other local leaders to discuss the plight of area families facing the threat of violence, slavery, and death because of the Trump Administration’s latest immigration move.

Unfortunately, the White House has reversed course and terminated a deferral program that provided protection to nearly 70,000 Mauritanians who fled their homeland following a two-year war that broke out in 1989. These refugees are now a class of stateless Afro-Mauritanians that human rights groups and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) say are enslaved in their homeland by the lighter-skinned Arab Maghreb ruling class.

“I strongly oppose any attempt at tearing these families apart and sending parents, grandparents, and children back to a life of bondage or even worse,” Beatty said at the listening session. “Our community is vibrant and stronger because of them, and their plight is another example of why Congress must take immediate action to fix our broken immigration system.” 

During the roundtable discussion, Beatty heard individual stories and asked for input from those in attendance to identify next action steps. In addition, she highlighted her leadership in circulating a congressional letter urging Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to immediately halt ongoing deportations, pledged to hold a follow up event and meet with affected Central Ohio families.

“Thank you for your commitment and hard work on behalf of Central Ohio Mauritanians.” Beatty continued, “Today, is an important first step in supporting these hardworking families who want little more than the opportunity to raise their children free from violence and persecution. I promise to continue working with all of you to help find a workable solution to this growing crisis.”    

More than 3,000 Mauritanians (the largest such community nationwide) live in Central Ohio, raising families, working and paying taxes, and contributing mightily to the entire area.