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Mandel: Cincinnati Wrong To Defy Laws As A Sanctuary City

Josh Mandel (far left) listens as Chris Monzel speaks.
Gena Bell
Josh Mandel (far left) listens as Chris Monzel speaks.

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel joined local Republicans Tuesday in opposing Mayor John Cranley's announcement that Cincinnati would be a sanctuary city.Cranley's declaration is in direct defiance of President Trump's crackdown on immigration from seven predominately Muslim nations, but he declared Monday that it is the morally right thing to do as a city.

Mandel, who is running for the U.S. Senate from Ohio next year, taking on Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown, strongly disagrees.

Tuesday afternoon, in a room on the seventh floor of the Hamilton County Administration Building, Mandel joined Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel, Cincinnati Council Member Charlie Winburn and about 50 supporters to speak out against Cranley's actions.

Mandel is Jewish and many of his ancestors were killed at the hands of the Nazis in concentration camps. Others escaped the Nazis and came to this country to become American citizens, he said. 

Cranley's message to would-be immigrants is wrong, Mandel said.

"Think about the message that Cranley is sending to them – that it's OK for people to violate the law while so many of our ancestors came here in a legal way," Mandel said.

Mandel hammered at Cranley for saying that Cincinnati police will not enforce federal immigration laws.

"Once we accede the principle that cities can snub their noses at federal laws with which they disagree, we've lost our nation," Mandel said.

Mandel also warned the Trump administration could cut off funding to major infrastructure projects here because of the defiance.

"If it happens, it's John Cranley's fault," Mandel said.

Monzel, without mentioning Cranley by name, agreed with Mandel that the mayor is overstepping his bounds.  

"How can elected officials pick and choose which laws should be enforced?," Monzel said.

Monzel also talked about his own ancestors who came to this country from Germany 90 years ago. They landed at Ellis Island in New York Harbor, as did millions of other immigrants.

Monzel said his mother told him his German ancestors had to meet three criteria before being allowed to settle in the U.S. – they had to show they had a sponsor here; they had to show they had a trade to make a living; and they had to spend 30 days on Ellis Island being vetted for illnesses and other potential problems.

The vetting of immigrants, Monzel said, is nothing new.

Council Member Wendell Young will introduce a motion at Wednesday's council meeting to officially declare Cincinnati a sanctuary city.

At Mandel's event, Winburn urged people to come to City Hall Wednesday to speak out against the plan.

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Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.