Immigrant Rights groups in Michigan are taking action
In West Michigan, the group Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) is offering resources, along with other agencies, for young immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) act. The group, known as Michigan Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (“MCIRR”), developed a two-step process of intake sessions followed by larger form preparation workshops.
Each agency will use a common intake form and work together to host the workshops. Applicants need to participate in the intake session to ensure they understand the risks and benefits of their application. The participants will meet with an attorney to confirm they are eligible for DACA. There is a nominal fee for an intake and the workshop. Costs for the intake is $30, but JFON’s intake is free of charge (by appointment only).
On Thursday, September 20th, JFON will host its first intake session at their Holland Clinic Site. To make an appointment, find information about this event, or to view a DACA information sheet, visit their website www.jfonwestmichigan.org.
To find a comprehensive list of DACA events across Michigan go to www.michiganimmigrant.org.
The other major news in immigrant rights has to do with the issue of border patrol abuses. The Michigan Alliance for Immigrant Rights sent out this media release yesterday:
Today, immigrant advocate groups and 11 members of Congress called for an independent investigation into reports of abuse at the hands of Border Patrol. Congressman Hansen Clarke’s office represented the other U.S. Representatives and joined immigrant groups representing states from New York to Washington requesting Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of Border Patrol practices.
“When Border Patrol targets people based solely on their race or religion, rather than their behavior, they are weakening our national security and undermining our civil rights,” said Dawud Walid, Executive Director Council on American-Islamic Relations – Michigan, “We need Border Patrol to play by the rules, and act like professionals.”
The letter calling for the GAO investigation of Border Patrol comes after a number of reports of abuse by Border Patrol ranging from detaining people based on nothing but their skin color or apparent religion to denying food and water to those detained. Most notable among these reports is a a two-part PBS “Need to Know” documentary that includes eyewitness testimony of from a Border Patrol agent whistle blower . ”After years of internal investigations, it’s become clear that Border Patrol can’t police itself. Even former agents have come forward to confirm the problems with abuse,” Ryan Bates, Director, Alliance for Immigrants Rights – Michigan. “It’s time for an independent watchdog to help get Border Patrol under control, which is why we’re so glad that eleven Members of Congress have called on the GAO to begin an investigation.”