Obama aide highlights immigrant policy forum in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama’s special assistant on immigration policy highlighted a daylong forum in Columbus this week exploring ways to empower and engage Ohio’s foreign-born residents.

State Rep. Kevin Boyce, a Columbus Democrat, hosted the New American Forum on Thursday at Franklin University.

Felicia Escobar, special assistant to the president and part of the White House Task Force on New Americans, delivered the day’s keynote address. Participants also took part in small-group discussions on housing and civil rights, small business and workforce development, human trafficking and language access in education and the justice system.

The American Immigration Council estimates that roughly a quarter of Ohio’s immigrant population lives in Franklin County, home to Columbus. That includes more than 45,000 Somali Americans.