Skip to content

Grand Rapids Protests Trump’s New Immigration Policy

January 27, 2017


Yesterday, several hundred people gathered in downtown Grand Rapids to express their opposition to the newly signed Executive Order from President Trump on immigration policy.

The protest in Grand Rapids was one of dozens that have taken place across the country in the last fe days, since President Trump signed the Executive Order.

The executive order would essentially do the following:

  • Securing the southern U.S. border “through immediate construction of a physical wall” to stop immigrants that are undocumented, the flow of drugs, human trafficking and acts of terrorism
  • Detaining “individuals apprehended on suspicions of” law breaking and expedition of claims of their eligibility to stay in the U.S.
  • Swift deportation of “individuals whose legal claims to remain in the United States have been lawfully rejected”
  • DHS Secretary John Kelly to “take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design and construct” the wall
  • Projections for “long-term funding requirements,” including the preparation of congressional budget requests for current and future fiscal years
  • Completion of a “comprehensive study” of the southern border’s security to completed within the next 180 days
  • Construction and operation of detention facilities at or near the border
  • Termination of the catch-and-release border policy, a directive to Border Patrol agents not to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants
  • Repatriation of immigrants who have been deported
  • The hiring of 5,000 Border Patrol officers and the tripling of the number of ICE officers
  • A report of “Federal aid or assistance” to the Mexican government over the past five years to be completed within 30 days
  • Termination of “the abuse of parole and asylum provisions currently used to prevent the lawful removal of removable aliens”
  • A public monthly report “on aliens apprehended at or near the southern border”
  • Crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities, locales that don’t prosecute immigrants for living in the country without documentation
  • Denial of federal funds to “jurisdictions that fail to comply with” federal law, unless deemed necessary
  • “Prompt removal” of immigrants who have been ordered to leave the country
  • A DHS office whose aim is to support “victims of crime committed by removable aliens and the family members of such victims”

The protest on the Blue Bridge in downtown Grand Rapids was organized by the Office for Social Justice of the Christian Reformed Church. Organizers welcomed people and made to following statement.

Now more than ever, the Grand Rapids community must demonstrate its support for Muslims, refugees, and immigrants. We must loudly oppose all changes to our refugee resettlement system that ban Syrians, reduce the number of refugees we welcome, halt the resettlement of Muslims, and pause the processing of refugees for any period of time. As we witness the largest displacement of people in modern history, we must continue to extend welcome, not turn our backs. Grand Rapids stands in solidarity with immigrants and refugees, and will not support Donald Trump’s policies to hurt them and divide us.

Several other speakers were given an opportunity to address the crowd. One speaker was a young woman who is a refugee and came to the US thirteen years ago.

Another speaker was Fr. Steve Cron, who is the pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, a congregation made up most of immigrants from Latin America. Fr. Cron spoke just after the crowd engaged in a chant of, Bridges, Not Walls!

Other speakers included someone from the Micah Worker Center, Bethany Christian Services and a representative from Senator Gary Peters office. The Senator has a mixed history when it comes to voting for immigration policies that reflected the sentiment of the crowd on the Blue Bridge, a record you can look up here. There is also no formal statement from Senator Peters on his website about the President Trump’s Executive Order.

Towards the end of the short protest, people were encouraged to send a text that would allow them to then easily send messages to Senator Peters, Senator Stabenow, Representative Amash and Representative Huizenga. View the voting record on immigration policy these elected officials by clicking on their name.

Senator Stabenow 

Rep. Amash 

Rep. Huizenga 

While holding politicians accountable for their stance on immigration is one tactic, another tactic is for people to defy the current Executive Orders and engage in acts of solidarity with refugees and immigrants. One effort that is underway in West Michigan is a growing coalition of individuals and organizations who would offer sanctuary to those targeted under the new Executive Order.

Grand Rapids has a history with the Sanctuary Movement and there seems to be lots of positive energy around offering sanctuary for those most vulnerable under the current immigration policies.

At the end of the protest, people walked hand in hand across the Blue Bridge in downtown Grand Rapids, chanting and making a statement about how they will stand with refugee and immigrants.


%d bloggers like this: