Reunion is the greatest power and attribute of love. The great Jesuit Pierre Tielhard de Chardin once said, “Everything in the universe everything is programmed and destined to come back to one.”
We have seen this challenged and affirmed in extreme measures these past weeks. The cries of children separated from their families on the border is enough to make even the hardest-hearted feel agony. Knowing that this is a person-made policy is even more confounding. These families seek reunion, and we must be mindful and fight for this raw and human pull. To disrupt this force is to hurt the family but also our nation and ourselves. These families coming over the border are not terrorists, they come in search for a better and safer life, similar to the millions who came over the centuries before us. An interesting occurrence happens again and again in the immigrant life in America. While people are coming here to survive, they end up making a life in which they will ultimately succeed and thrive. Where they work, build and cultivate community, they create a richness and fulfillment in their lives and the people around them. Mayor Jackson always says, “Always bet on the people society discards. In fact, you should double down. These people, these families never disappoint and they always give back twice what was given to them.”
These are people and families and workers who, in addition to reminding us of what our democratic foundation is intended to be, are helping to fill our ever-widening talent gap.
If we cannot open our hearts, can we be so isolationist and committed to our sure destruction to say no to people who make our economy grow? The people I know who work and fight in this space are all first drawn to the human stories, but then many of us continue to understand our national economic and security well-being that absolutely depends on how we invite the international newcomer into our community.
People often tell me, “what an interesting time to work in immigration.” They are not wrong, but the overwhelming conversation on immigrants, refugees, tariffs, talent gaps, solutions for American cities that are dropping in population all include embracing, supporting, welcoming people who were not born here. So, we cannot stop. In spite of the daily increasing height of the hurdle, making it more challenging for an international entrepreneur to call the US home, lessening the number of refugees we welcome to our communities by a 75% plus drop, not constructively and proactively dealing with legislation that could make our DACA/Dreamers nation builders permanent and safe. The harder and higher the hill, Global Cleveland will work that much more to keep doing the good work we do.
We work with advanced manufacturing companies like Buckeye Business Products, who took a chance and hired people who came to the Land as refugees. We work with schools like CWRU and their ever-growing international student community, thanks to David Fleshler and his dedicated team. We work with Nate Ward at CSU’s Global Business Center who speaks honestly about the power of international hiring and personnel investment. Our Cleveland and greater Cleveland communities are rewriting the narrative about how our economy can thrive by opening doors, welcoming immigrants and acknowledging the power behind our ancestral immigrants.
On September 8th, Global Cleveland will host the second annual InterCle to properly welcome and embrace the International Students in Cleveland. Last year we hoped for two-hundred students in our inaugural year and welcomed over five-hundred. Stay tuned for more details. On July 19th, Friends of Global Cleveland will be hosting its annual summer celebration at the Ukrainian Museum Archives. It’s a great celebration of all our international powerhouses in the Cleveland area and all are welcome to this event. We are also in the midst of planning an extraordinary, soon-to-be-announced, International City Connection Program where we will utilize the desire of our City and County to connect with economic development around the globe.
We won’t stop because Governor Kasich recently established the State of Ohio’s first Office of Opportunities for New Americans that understands the power of immigrant entrepreneurship. We won’t stop because the U.S. Citizen Naturalization ceremonies are showing a 20% increase in the number of people becoming registered U.S. citizens here in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. We won’t stop because we recognize the answer to our future’s questions are spoken in Spanish, Urdu, Chinese, Hindi, French, Swahili and hundreds of other languages that do not include English. We won’t stop because the cries of our children must be answered in a way that does not sponsor inhumane policy.
Here’s to reunion.