Tag Archives: daca

Immigrants and native people support DACA at rally in Troy

Urge Rep. Trott to advance DREAM Act in congress to protect youth

Dozens of people, many in traditional dress, gathered outside the district office of Representative David Trott (R-MI 11) Monday morning to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and to urge the congressman to help his constituents who will be at risk when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expires.

Tim Seneca (Photo courtesy Natalie Gallager)
Tim Seneca (Photo courtesy Natalie Gallager)

“We come together as family, friends, love ones. All are welcome.” said Tim Seneca, a native American of the Chippewa Potawatomi tribe. “Just as you have thanksgiving all the family comes over. No one is separated. Everyone should be welcome in this country.”

As currently written, the DREAM Act would extend Obama era protections from deportation for undocumented immigrants who were brought to America in their youth. Since House Speaker Paul Ryan is in no hurry to advance the issue, the group wants Rep. Trott to sign a discharge petition. The maneuver would bypass the Speaker and bring the bill  to the floor for debate and a vote.

Steve Spreitzer (Photo courtesy Natalie Gallager)
Steve Spreitzer (Photo courtesy Natalie Gallager)

“This is a small part of immigration reform but it has energy. It has promise.” said Steve Spreitzer of the Michigan Roundtable. “We have to move past the racialization of immigration. The comments made about Mexican people during the campaign can’t be dismissed. We have to stand against that and stand with our neighbors who are dreamers.”

 

 

22424629_1651005658263301_1596496440628575010_oOne of those neighbors, Maria Cervantes was brought here as a child by her grandmother. She has DACA protection now but says she’s afraid for what the future might bring. “You always live with the fear that you could be separated from your family. I’m here to support the DREAM Act because I want to live without fear and to have a better life.”

 

The rally concluded with everyone writing a note on a colored strips of paper explaining why the DREAM Act is important to them. The messages were strung together in a chain and carried to the office which was closed because of the national holiday. Together, Seneca and Cervantes passed it through the mail slot for Trott’s staff to find in the morning.

(Photo courtesy Natalie Gallager)(Photo courtesy Natalie Gallager)

If you stand with the dreamers, call your representative today and tell them to sign the discharge petition for the DREAM act. If you live in Michigan’s 11th district, you can reach Rep. Trott at 202-225-8171.

 

8 arrested in civil disobedience protesting end of DACA protections

Immigrant youth refuse to return to shadows, citizen allies reject white supremacy

Residents held a heartfelt and tearful rally in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park Tuesday as immigrant youth of Movimiento Cosecha called for solidarity with the 11 million people who are undocumented in the country and described how President Trump’s decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would impact their lives and families. Afterwards, they marched to Michigan avenue and Westnedge street where Eight citizen allies, who identify as white, were were arrested evening for blocking the intersection. The citizen allies used their white privilege in the act of civil disobedience to risk arrest in order to amplify the message of the risk that DACA & undocumented families make everyday to live in the United States.

Christine Lewis, co-Director of West Michigan Michigan United said, “For us as citizens who are white, we want to take up our responsibility to fight white supremacy; and that means taking risks,” Lewis said. “The point of the arrests was to show fellow white folks what it means to take action and invite people in.” It was one of many actions hosted across the state by Michigan United as they pushed for a legislative solution to the crisis Trump has created.

Nelly Fuentes of Moviemento Cosecha Kalamazoo and Pro-Kzoo said “This decision would be the height of cruelty: It’s an attempt to score political points by separating families and disrupting schools and workplaces across the country, it’s vile and the Kalamazoo community will not stand for blatant racist and cruel policy. We stand with all DACA recipients and the 11 million undocumented people living in this country.”

DACA Troy heroshot

Earlier at Rep. Dave Trott’s (R-MI 11) district office in Troy, Michigan, several DACA recipients spoke to a crowd of about a hundred gathered to urge the congressman to endorse legislation that would replace the popular program.  “DACA has done so much good for our immigrant youth and families and so many people want to see it continue, I don’t know why our President is listening to this tiny racist minority,” said Michigan United immigrant rights organizer and DACA recipient Adonis Flores. “Thank God for checks and balances! The American Hope or Dream act would be better solutions anyway.”

That afternoon, another hundred protesters gathered outside Western International High School as the first day of classes let out. Many of the college plans of seniors in this predominantly immigrant community could be put on hold if a replacement isn’t found when the protections it offers expire in six months.

Alondra Alvarez, a 17 year old student at the school has many friends in this situation. “I am unafraid and stand up for those who feel they don’t have a say. DACA is something that has helped so many of my peers and it hurts to know my loved ones will be affected by this.”

21369267_1617773558253178_4605358815655886730_n

State Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) also passionately described how DACA has helped young immigrants in Michigan. “Ending DACA without any guarantee of congressional action means these teachers, nurse, engineers students, first responders, members of the military are going to be ripped out of our communities and forced back into the shadows, facing at best an uncertain future and at worst potential deportation to a country they do not know.”

GR DACA heroshotBack across the state, Michigan United also took part in a vigil held in Grand Rapids at Rosa Parks Circle. The crowd of about 300 marched through the downtown until they reached Calder Plaza where they held a rally where several undocumented immigrants were able to speak. “DACA was the only thing we had.” said JP Palacios. “We had five years of progress and hope, only to see it revoked by politicians. It’s not only immoral, it goes against American values.”

Recent polling shows that most Americans support the Obama era executive action that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as minors. “DACA has done so much good for our immigrant youth and families. It has overwhelming support of both, Republicans and Democrats alike. So many people want to see it continue. Its unfortunate that this President is listening to a tiny racist minority, instead of the majority of Americans.” said Flores. “Thank God for checks and balances! The American Hope or Dream act would be better solutions anyway.”

Tell congress to protect DACA/TPS now!

CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS.

  1. CLICK HERE to find your US Representative
  2. Call the switchboard
  3. Ask you congresspeople to protect DACA & TPS.
Here’s a sample script to guide your conversation:
“Hi, my name is (Your name) and I’m calling from (Your city and state) and my zip code is ####. I am a person of faith. I’m deeply concerned about the reports that President Trump could end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and Temporary Protection Status (TPS) this week. I support these programs and strongly oppose any attempt to terminate or alter them. I urge the (Name of Senator/Representative) to do everything in his/her power to protect immigrant youth and families from deportation and support their right to work , live and study in this country. There are three things I’m hoping your office will do right now.”
  • “Can the Senator/Representative appeal directly to the President to keep this program in place, issue a public statement in support for DACA and TPS recipients, and support a clean passage of S.1615/H.R.3440, the HOPE and DREAM Acts of 2017?”
  • Oppose and vote against budget that funds deportations, private prisons and the border wall by making cuts to health care, education and the real needs of Americans.”
  • “Oppose and vote against the RAISE Act that will make it more difficult if not impossible for immigrant families to ever be reunited.”
“Thank you!”

Many Michigan undocumented immigrants’ hopes dashed by Supreme Court decision

Advocates for undocumented immigrants say a Supreme Court decision hurts millions of families in the U.S.

In a tie vote, the Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that blocked the president’s executive order on immigration.

President Obama wanted to stop deportations of undocumented parents with legal resident children.

Attorney Ruby Robinson is with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. Robinson says undocumented residents of the U.S. live with tremendous day-to-day insecurity and fear.

“Every day when that (undocumented) parent goes to work or the child goes to school, there is no guarantee that the parent will be in the house when that child returns,” says Robinson.

And he says everyone, not just immigrants, stood to gain from the executive order.

“We don’t want children to grow up in the United States without parents, we don’t want them to be reliant on social services safety nets if a parent is deported. We want families to be together,” he says.

Robinson says there are about 60,ooo undocumented parents in Michigan who would have benefited from the president’s order.

He hopes the case comes before the Supreme Court again next year, after a ninth justice will be appointed.

Immigrant Rights Leaders: Tied Supreme Court Decision Means We Head to the Polls

Vacancy on bench allows decision to be revisited when court at full strength

On a press call in response to the Supreme Court’s tied decision in the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) case, Michigan immigration reform leaders urged the community to head to the polls in November. The decision in the case of USA v. Texas addressed President Obama’s DAPA program which would have granted protection from deportation and a work permit to up to five million undocumented parents of US citizen children. it is estimated that as many as fifty thousand of those parents live in Michigan. Today’s decision was on an injunction halting the program, not the legality of the program itself.

Download selected audio from the press conference here

“The Court’s tie decision leaves the door open for the Supreme Court to come back to this case and enact deportation relief that would keep families intact,” said Adonis Flores of Michigan United. “But that can only happen if voters make it clear that we want and need a Supreme Court justice that values all families, including immigrant families, and will recognize deportation relief as crucial for millions across the nation. We have to mobilize to make that happen.”

The current vacancy on the Supreme Court has created a unique situation that made this tie decision possible. Consequently, the court could revisit the program when a new justice is appointed.

“We’re going to fight for our families, and that means mobilizing every voter we can this summer and fall. We need to send a strong message to the next President and win a pro-immigrant Supreme Court,” said Nadia Tonova, director of the National Network for Arab American Communities. “This summer you’re going to see undocumented families register voters, knock on doors, and get out the vote. Even if you can’t vote, you can still organize.”

Organizers promised to contact at least thirty thousand Arab , Asian, and Latino American voters this summer and fall as part of a coordinated civic engagement effort.

Participants promoted the following public events regarding DAPA and the civic engagement push:

  • Friday, June 24, 12 p.m., Michigan State Capitol, Lansing, MI
    Vigil with the Mid-Michigan Immigration Coalition & Greater Lansing Network against War and Injustice
  • Tuesday, June 28, 6:30-8 p.m., Town Hall Meeting – Now What? Next Steps for Immigration
    Michigan United Kalamazoo, 1009 E. Stockbridge, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Saturday, July 9, 10 a.m., St. Francis of Assisi Parish Hall, 4405 Wesson, Detroit, MI
    Town Hall Meeting for Immigrant Families on the Consequences of the DAPA Decision
  • Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m., Immigrant Citizens Voting Power Door-to-Door Canvass
    Michigan United Detroit, 4405 Wesson, Detroit, MI
    Michigan United Kalamazoo, 1009 E. Stockbridge, Kalamazoo, MI

Supreme Court to hear DAPA immigration case in spring, while Justice Scalia’s death raises concern

By , WXMI Fox17 Grand Rapids, February 15, 2016


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A heated debate continues to unfold across the country about how to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Meanwhile, critical and controversial cases hang in the balance until that debate is settled.

One key immigration affected deals with President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The DAPA case, or deferred action for parents of Americans and lawful permanent residents, is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court this spring. However, with Scalia’s death it is uncertain as to how the high court will handle this case.

Monday families and community leaders rallied at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan and called for support of DAPA. If enacted, DAPA would defer the deportations of up to five million undocumented parents, granting them work permits.

It is immigration reform that would change the lives of high school student Karla Padilla and her mother.

“It’s really scary because you never know when it’s the last time you’re going to see your mom or your parents,” said Padilla.

Unlike her brother who was born in the United States, Padilla came to the country with her mother when she was five-years-old; but she only remembers this country as her own.

“This is my home, this is where I grew up,” said Padilla. “All the memories I have, I don’t remember a lot of stuff when I was in Mexico because I was really little. So I consider myself an American.”

Introduced in 2014, the Texas Attorney General quickly challenged DAPA in federal court, which then went to a court of appeals: both federal courts found DAPA to be unconstitutional. Just last month the Supreme Court said it would hear the case this spring, and decide whether President Obama overstepped his presidential powers.

With the death of Scalia, Calvin College American Politics Professor Doug Koopman said that could change.

“If the Supreme Court does not hear, or does not rule, or has a 4-4 decision, that lower court decision stands,” said Koopman. “Therefore, at least in that jurisdiction of the United States, that DAPA will not be enforced, it will not be enforced the way President Obama wants it to be.”

In the past, presidents’ Supreme Court justice nominations have been approved more often than not in an election year. However, Koopman does not believe Scalia’s seat will be filled this year.

“This year is a particularly partisan year and this is a particularly important justice: Scalia really was the advocate for the conservative or the original or the texturalist side of things,” said Koopman.

“His replacement will tip the balance of the court. It’s such a high stakes issues, it’s doubtful that it will be filled this year.”

As we wait for the high court’s move on this case, leaders call on communities for greater support of DAPA and to come out and vote in this critical election year.

“Folks have to still be very supportive of DACA and DAPA and to meet with their representatives,” said Roberto Torres, Hispanic Center of West Michigan executive director. “It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the American thing to do.”

Local families waiting for immigration ruling

Several families in West Michigan are waiting for a Supreme Court decision on immigration.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) — There are many families in West Michigan waiting for the outcome of a Supreme Court case on immigration.

A number of those families attended a Monday news conference regarding this case, hosted by the Hispanic Center of West Michigan.

In 2014, President Obama issued an executive order that defers the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. This spring, the high court is hearing a challenge to that order.

“What I really hope for is just give me a road,” said Kevin Curiel at the news conference. “Give me a list to check, and I’ll do it all to make sure I get residency. And I have no problem proving to them I am worth being here, and I can do good in this country.”

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on this case before the end of June.

DACA Advocates Resume Calls To Supreme Court

Advocates of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals call for Supreme Court to hear arguments in April as planned.

Following the death of Chief Justice Antonin Scalia, West Michigan immigration reform advocates gathered to call on the Supreme Court to affirm deferred action.

“You wake up every day and then you realize, this could be the last I’m going to see my family.”

That’s Kevin Curiel-Vazquez, speaking at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan about his fears growing up undocumented. When President Barak Obama signed deferred action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, his whole life changed.

“I was able to apply myself in the way I always wanted to. I was able to find a decent job, get an ID, get a car, get a license, get a back account, insurance.”

DACA and a similar program for undocumented parents of US-born children, called DAPA, were both challenged in court. Alex Gillett from Justice for Our Neighbors said the death of Justice Antonin Scalia worried her in how it would affect the timing of the decision.

“What we are here doing today is continuing to draw attention to administrative relief, DACA and DAPA and just urging the Supreme Court to hear the case and decide in favor of DACA and DAPA. So the Supreme Court has accepted to hear the case and I believe oral arguments will be made in the case in April and hopefully we’ll have a decision in June.”