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Gov. Kasich Creates State Office To Help Immigrants

Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the Ohio State of the State address in the Fritsche Theater at Otterbein University in Westerville, Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Paul Vernon
Associated Press

Ohio has a new office to help immigrants.

Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday signed an executive order to create the Office for New Americans. It will work within the Ohio Development Services Agency to offer what Kasich calls a one-stop shop for legal immigrants looking for jobs and support services as they transition to life in the United States.

“This is really critical in terms of full assimilation, making their lives more comfortable at a time when there can be great turbulence and anxiety. We don’t want that because we want them to come to Ohio,” Kasich said at a Tuesday press conference.

Ohio has about 500,000 documented immigrants, about 4 percent of the population, though Kasich says status won't be checked.

Kasich says it's time Congress does something about illegal immigration, as well.

"We're not going to take 11-12 million people and put them on a yellow school bus and ship them to the border," Kasich said. "We need to get them into a position where they have some sort of status. But they just can't seem to do anything because everybody's so political down there and polarized."

The office will be led by Padmini Roy-Dixon, the former head of the Services Agency’s business services division. She’s also an immigrant from India.

“I feel really connected and committed to this initiative," Roy-Dixon said. "To help others make their transition. To help integrate other immigrants into Ohio’s workforce and make job opportunities available to them."

The creation of the office represents another step Kasich takes away from President Donald Trump on the issue of immigration. Kasich has previously urged DREAMers, or people given temporary legal status under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, to move to Ohio.

Trump’s order to end DACA is currently being heard in a federal appeals court.

In a recent interview with CNN, Kasich rhetorically asked if he might not fit into the modern Republican Party because he doesn’t hate immigrants. He's said immigration can help with Ohio's anemic population growth.