Lima continues efforts to aid Haitians

LIMA — The city of Lima is set to bring back a dormant committee as issues relating to the city’s Haitian population come to the forefront and councilman Derry Glenn is set to hold a follow-up to the forum he held in May in which residents demanded answers addressing those issues.

Since then, the city has passed resolutions to enforce laws against parking violations that residents have complained about for years and is set to revive the Human Relations Committee to address employers and landlords possibly taking advantage of Haitian residents.

“A few years ago, we had a conversation around the George Floyd incident in 2020 and we are here four years later talking about this commission that has lain dormant for some time,” council president Jamie Dixon said after a committee meeting Wednesday. “It talks about the practice of discrimination because of race, color, creed, sexuality or national origin. But mostly, we want to make sure we don’t have any prejudices as people are doing things in the city and we want to make sure that we have a place where individuals can come and speak their piece before a commission or body of their peers and have avenues where things can be educated upon and conversations can be mediated in any situation.”

Glenn, during a city council meeting in early May, said he sympathized with residents voicing their problems and pledged to get answers for a meeting June 12.

Glenn shared his intention to ask the city’s police department and Allen County Sheriff’s Office for answers to questions about the legal status of members of the Haitian population, among other things, in the forum, which would be an event held separate from the city.

Two weeks ago, Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia told the Lima News that the residents are in the country legally on work permits and cannot be deported and that he met with Lima Police Chief Angel Cortes and Mayor Sharetta Smith about the issue recently.

Smith did not grant The Lima News an interview, but shared the presentation she made at the April 22 city council meeting in which she proposed solutions for all citizens, passing legislation to address issues like overcrowding residences and asking for help from the state and federal governments.

“The vast majority of immigration policy is controlled by the federal government; however, local governments bear a significant portion of the burden for those decisions,” the outline reads. “As we search for additional resources to address growing problems like the shortage of quality, affordable housing, workforce development, poverty, and education, we need support and financial assistance from our state and federal partners.”

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.