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Grand Rapids participates in National Day of Action to Stand with Immigrant Families

December 11, 2015

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Yesterday, several dozen people gathered outside the offices of Justice for Our Neighbors to participate in a National Day of Action to Stand with Immigrant Families as the Supreme Court takes up the issue of deportation relief. 

Alexandra Gillett, with Justice for Our Neighbors, welcomed those who showed up to take a stand on immigration justice. Alexandra stated, “Today we’re here to urge the Supreme Court to hear the case on Administrative Relief, it’s called Texas v. United States.  You’re going to hear from individuals from across WM: they are faith leaders, business owners, leaders in the Hispanic community; and immigrant advocates.  They will share their experiences and stories to illustrate how important it is for the Supreme Court to hear the case on DAPA and expanded DACA.”

DAPA stands for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability and DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

The representative with Justice for Our Neighbors made it clear what has happened with DAPA and DACA so far.not_one_more_deportation_hunger_strike_obama_daca_deferred_action_850_607

1. DAPA would provide certain parents of US citizen or legal permanent resident children with a work permit that is good for 2 years.  This does not provide a path to a green card or citizenship, but it does allow immigrants to work legally and remain with their families.  I want to be clear: it DOES NOT GRANT AMNESTY to anyone.

2. Expanded DACA is similar to the DACA program currently in place, but it expands the program to help more people and it allows for a 3 year work permit instead of 2 years.  This would allow more undocumented people who were brought to the US as children to receive work permits.  Again DACA does not provide a path to a green card or citizenship, but it does allow immigrants to work legally.

Gillett was followed by several other speakers, each of which made points about the importance of this moment in history and why immigrants, both documented and undocumented, deserve justice.

Adam Lipscomb, a Pastor at City Life Church, spoke about his congregations work with immigrants. More importantly, he shared a story about the deadly consequences that those who are deported could face.

Sergio Reyes, Co-founder of Cultivate Holland, spoke about the importance of recognizing this historical moment and made the connection between previous movements for social justice and what those struggles were able to accomplish.

However, maybe the most important voice heard at the rally was Vanessa Gutierrez, a DACA recipient and immigrant advocate. Vanessa talked about her own experience of how the broken immigration system made life for her and her family a constant struggle. Vanessa also told those in attendance that her fight has paid off, but that we all need to be involved in the ongoing efforts to stop deportations and treat immigrants with the respect and dignity that all humans deserve.

Other speakers were Roberto Torres, Executive Director at the Hispanic Center and the Rev. Kate Kooyman, with the Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice. The rally in Grand Rapids was co-organized by Michigan United.

Graphic from http://dignidadrebelde.com/

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