“Family Unity” bus tour rally’s with MOP at Hispanic American Council

Immigration Reform 2013 Rally in Southwest Michigan

Kalamazoo (Majyck Radio)- Jose Aguilera, MOP Statewide Board Member greeted  hundreds of Kalamazoo families, community leaders, church members and families from across southwest Michigan assembled at the Hispanic American Council for a rally with the national “Family Unity” bus tour for immigration reform.

The message was clear-family unity and pathway to citizenship now. “Family Unity” buses across the country are making their way toward Washington, D.C., stopping in key congressional districts to build pressure for immigration reform in 2013 and lifting up the stories of the broken immigration system. Thirty “Family Unity” riders from Wisconsin and Illinois joined southwest Michigan MOP members for last night’s rally.

Chants of, Si Se Puede, translated, We can do iterupted throughout the evening with claps cheers and live music provided by Iglesia Evangelica Misionera Band.

The rally focused on the need for comprehensive immigration reform this year which includes a clear pathway to citizenship. MOP members criticized Rep. Fred Upton of southwest Michigan for saying “there may not be a specific pathway to citizenship”.  Speakers at the rally pointed out that lack of earned citizenship would create a permanent underclass of 11 million workers, students, and family members.

Jenn Amaya, MOP member from Grand Rapids and DREAM student shared her families ordeal dealing with immigration reform. Her  mother found out that she could never re-enter the United States after returning to Mexico at the advice of an immigration lawyer to “process her papers”.

At 15 years old, Jenn was left to raise her younger brother and sister of four and six years old alone. Both children are U.S. citizens.  Though Jenn made the Dean’s list her first year of college, she has not been able to continue while working and caring for her siblings.

Sergio Martinez, DREAM student and member of MOP out of Detroit along with several people from the Michigan Organizing Project (MOP), a non-profit organization shared their stories. Denis Montero  arriving in the United States when he was 12 years old shared how oppressive and limited his life has been for him and his family. He is also part of the bus tour from from Voces d la Frontera, Wisconsin.

13 years ago, Ivan Gomes local business owner and MOP member came to the United States. His story re-enforced the consistant struggles  immigrants are facing.  “In my home country, I was a third class citizen.” Because of my race and religion, I didn’t have the opportunites to go to college or get a business license. That’s what this country is about-‘all men are created equal’. But even for me as a legal immigrant, the system is so broken that in spite of being here legally for 13 years and paying thousands of dollars in immigration fees, I have no path to citizenship.”

“Without a path to citizenship, we’re telling one million people that they are good enough to work in our fields and slaughterhouses, clean our bathrooms and hotels, pay taxes, but that they are not good enough to to ever be Americans”, said Nick Boyd, a local small business owner. “Rep. Upton’s position is actually more extreme than most other members of his own party. The leaders of Rep. Upton’s party support a pathway to citizenship: Senator Marco Rubio, Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Jeff Flake, even Speaker of the House John Boehner all support a pathway.”

Immigrants invoked the core American principles of Justice, freedom and opportunity that brought them to the U.S. and support their call to protect families and communities by fixing the broken immigration system.

“I want to know why my congressman won’t meet with us,” said MOP student organizer Wendy Medrano, whose family was torn apart by the broken immigration system for 18 years. “The congressman needs to know my family’s story and the stories of the other southwest Michigan families who are being affected by the broken system. He can’t hide from us forever”.

MOP and “Family Unity” members also announced a national mobilization for reform to Washington D.C. in April. Organizers plan to take several buses from southwest Michigan.



Victory For DACA Around The State

DETROIT – Today, the Alliance for Immigrant Rights welcomed the decision by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to grant drivers licenses to immigrant youth under Obama Administration reforms enacted last summer.  Secretary Johnson has agreed per the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that immigrants covered under the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are “lawfully present,” the technical designation necessary for the granting of drivers’ licenses.  Young people active in the movement for immigration reform can claim victory for making sure the state recognized their rights to drive under the new reforms.

“This validates our efforts. It is great that we can now make use of the work permits granted under DACA,” said Sergio Martinez, a DREAM youth and AIR volunteer organizer. “…And we can also make use of our educations to begin to fulfill our dreams. This will also keep momentum going to win justice for our families with comprehensive immigration reform.”

“Those of us from Michigan will be marching in D.C. with a bit more enthusiasm after this,” said Raquel Garcia Andersen, AIR organizer. “It’s one thing to know immigration reform is the right thing for our families and communities and it’s another to win a solid victory. Young people can get to work and school without fear as well as drive to the march in April to work to keep our families safe.”

April 10, 2013 is the date set by the immigrant rights movement to march at the nation’s capital in support of comprehensive reforms including a path to citizenship and allowing those separated from their families to rejoin them. Those wishing to sign up for the Wednesday, April 10, 2013 march in Washington D.C to “Keep Families Together” through immigration reform can do so here.

“Keep Families Together” National Launch In Kalamazoo

M.O.P (Michigan Organizing Project) and  AIR, (Alliance for Immigrant Rights and Reform Michigan will relaunch their national campaign to end the broken immigration system  that has torn apart the lives of thousands of families.  Next Tuesday, M.O.P , A.I.R and community members will meet outside the office of Congressman Fred Upton  to tell him reform of the system is long overdue. You can also go online and voice your concerns to Congressman Upton as well.

Where: Office of Congressman Fred Upton (outside)
157 South Kalamazoo Mall
When: Tuesday, January 15th, 12:00 PM




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