Tag Archives: grand rapids

Grand Rapids immigrant rights advocates respond to SOTU address

A clean Dream Act must be the focus

Members of the West Michigan Coalition for Immigration Reform gathered the day after President Trump’s State of the Union address to react to the proposed policies he presented. Trump wants to make aid for immigrant youth known as “Dreamers” to be dependent on increased border security and reduced legal migration. Advocates who spoke Wednesday at the Iglasia Misionaera de Cristo church disagree.

“We want a clean Dream Act, separate from the rest of President Trump’s immigration reforms.” said Rev. Justo Gonzalez. “As a man of faith, I stand on the side of justice. While we applaud the president’s path to citizenship for these young people, we are concerned that it will be done on the backs of other immigrants.”

While the President’s proposal increases the number of eligible participants under the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program  from about 800 thousand to 1.8 million, the path to citizenship would take more than a decade to complete. At the same time, opportunities for family reunification would be reduced by preventing American citizens and Legal Permanent Residents from sponsoring their parents and adult children to get family visas, despite the long arduous process that often takes years or decades. In addition Trump is seeking to end the diversity visa lottery that offers a limited number of visas from countries that don’t normally immigrate to the U.S.

“We need to stop being afraid of speaking out.” said Daniel Corecheo, one of the many DACA recipient in danger of losing protections before the program expires completely in March. “We have been afraid to speak out up until now. We have been afraid of losing the little that we have, but if we don’t stand up now, we will lose everything.”

Help Get Out The Vote in Detroit and Grand Rapids

Click HERE to sign up TODAY!

Michigan United is organizing an army of volunteers to go door to door to make sure everyone in SW Detroit and Grand Rapids gets out to vote on Election Day, Tuesday November 8th.  

We are a non-partisan organization, so we’re not out here to argue with anyone about politics, just ask them:

  • Do you plan to vote on Tuesday?
  • Do you know where your polling location is?
  • Do you need a ride?

Then say “Thank you very much” and it’s on to the next one.

In a world of Facebook ‘likes’ and email spam, nothing is more effective at getting someone to take action than looking them in the eye and asking “Are you going to vote?” And nothing gives you a better opportunity to do just that than spending a pleasant autumn day going door to door.

If you honestly believe in the power of the people to affect their destiny, if you believe in democracy, you MUST take part in the process. CLICK HERE to sign up today to canvass with Michigan United.

Thank you.

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.”