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In Person and At Home, Local Leaders React: President Biden’s Comments on Immigration, Gun Violence, and Policing.

Press Release: July 22, 2021

CINCINNATI, OH –  On Wednesday evening, Cincinnatians listened to President Biden briefly address issues of immigration, gun violence, and policing at the CNN Town Hall. 

On immigration, President Biden spoke on DACA, asylum seekers from Central America, and allies in Afghanistan. It was good to hear the President’s commitment to defending DACA recipients. Now we must widen our view to see that their parents, neighbors, and community members deserve the same compassion. Making the decision to leave your homeland in pursuit of safety and success for your family is not a decision that is made lightly. Saying the families coming from Guatemala and Central America “should not come” ignores the real, urgent situations they’re in. We need a pathway to citizenship for everyone, not just a select few.

On gun violence, Andrea Solis Canto, a paralegal and alumni of IJPC’s Youth Educating Society (YES) Program was in the audience and asked Biden, “I want to see change that’s going to make our cities like Cincinnati safer. So how will you address gun violence from a federal point of view to actually bring about change and make our local cities safer?” In response, Biden emphasised the need to limit access to assault weapons and crack down on the illegal sale and purchase of other firearms. Reducing guns and addressing gun violence are key factors in establishing nonviolent societies, so we are grateful for these initial steps. However, it is not only illegal guns that perpetuate violence within our communities therefore, removing only illegal guns is not the full solution. We must also address the issues that perpetuate crime and violence – poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and cycles of familial and community violence – so that we might allow communities to thrive, not just survive.

On policing, Biden’s statement that we need more police and more funding for police to do their job, ignores the realities of what the U.S. police system was built to do. The origin of the system of policing in the U.S. is rooted in violence, classism, and racism and continues to perpetuate those systems today. Instead of continuing to be dependent on an institution rooted in violence and inequality, we need to invest in other systems of community safety on which everyone can trust and rely. Time has shown that reform is not enough, so let’s build something better.

About the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center

The Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center educates and advocates for peace, challenges unjust local, national and global systems, and promotes the creation of a nonviolent society. Founded in 1985, IJPC is supported by faith-based organizations and individuals who work together to educate around justice issues, take collaborative action, and engage in public witness. IJPC addresses local, national and international concerns focusing on the death penalty, immigration, human trafficking, and peace and nonviolence. For more information and to get involved, please visit www.IJPCcincinnati.org.