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Immigration Rally forces Gov. Snyder to set up a meeting about driver’s license policy and other immigrant rights issues

November 9, 2012

Earlier today, about 250 people from all across Michigan descended on the State Capitol in Lansing to protest the policy of denying undocumented immigrants the opportunity obtain a Michigan driver’s license.

Young immigrants and their supporters gathered on the steps of the State Capital to call on Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Governor Snyder has announced that she will not issue drivers licenses to students granted work permits under President Obama’s DREAM Relief or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. At least two bus loads came from Grand Rapids alone.

The rally featured several speakers, but most of them were young Latinos/as who gave personal testimonies about the hardship these anti-immigration policies have caused them. However, the students spoke with passion and had solid analysis about why these policies are wrong.

Here is a video of 2 young Latina women and one Latino talking about their experiences and calling out the government for the oppressive policies that impact immigrants.

After people listened to speakers, the group was encouraged to enter the Capitol building and demand a meeting with Governor Snyder and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

Nearly everyone who attended the rally went in to the capitol building, up two floors and began chanting in the rotunda. At one point a group of grade school students walked past the crowd chanting, with expressions on their faces like they had never seen anything like this before.

Someone from Snyder’s office eventually came out to tell the crowd that he was across the street. Immediately the crowd announced they would leave the building and see if they could confront Snyder across the street. You can see from this footage people chanting in the rotunda and then in front of the government building across the street.

After about 50 people got inside the George Romney building, security guards showed up all in a panic and finally agreed to allow a delegation from the rally to go speak with someone from Snyder’s office.

While the delegates meet with the Governor’s office, people continued to march, chant and use the time to talk about next steps and network with dreamers across the state.

After about 45 minutes the delegates came down and told the crowd that the Governor’s office listened to their concerns and agreed to another meeting in the next few weeks to discuss policy issues related to driver’s licenses and other immigration rights. Ryan Bates, with Alliance for Immigration Rights and Reform, asked the crowd if they could commit to meeting with local legislators and if they would be willing to come back to Lansing for another rally when the next meeting was confirmed with Snyder’s office. The crowd let out a resounding yes.

While the rally was very inspiring, since it was organized mostly by young Latinos/as, this writer finds it hard to believe that either the Snyder administration or the Obama administration will be sympathetic to their demands. Both have demonstrated nothing but contempt for immigrant rights and the Obama administration has deported more undocumented immigrants in his first four years than the Bush administration had in eight.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Lupe Ramos-Montigny permalink
    November 10, 2012 2:24 am

    The “Dreamers” exemplify life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity today and in the future…..thank you Governor Synder for opening the door of opportunity by agreeing to meet with these young determined future citizens of the United States. And as our great leader Cesar E. Chavez said, “Si Se Puede!”

  2. November 10, 2012 2:30 am

    Thanks for your comments. However, I don’t think that Snyder deserves any thanks here, just the people who came to Lansing to force him and his staff to have to hear the concerns and demands of the Latino/a youth.


  1. Action Alert: Contact Gov. Snyder’s office in solidarity with immigrants « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  2. Latino community pushes for immigrant rights at City Commission meeting « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  3. One Michigan Undocumented Youth file lawsuit against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson over Driver’s Licenses « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  4. Immigration Rights Alert: Contact Ruth Johnson « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  5. Victory for Undocumented Immigrant Youth: Secretary of State Decides to Grant DACA recipients Driver Licenses « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy
  6. The Immigrant Justice Movement in Grand Rapids Part I | Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

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