Governor Rick Snyder to grant drivers licenses to students with work permits authorized under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Many students feel that their work permits are virtually useless without the ability to drive to school or to look for work. There was also a call for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to follow its own guidelines and stop harassing families moving children to or from school.
“Secretary of State Johnson needs to stop playing politics with students’ lives,” said rally organizer Wendy Medrano of Western Michigan University. “For her, it’s just a political game. But for the students who have these work permits, it’s a question of whether they can support their families and pay tuition."
Immigration reform advocates called for a meeting with Governor Snyder and Secretary of State Johnson to resolve the contradiction of denying legal residents the right to drive while they have been granted deferred action and work authorization by the federal government. They also addressed another more blatant form of harassment. ICE Agents, in direct violation of the agency’s own rules, have been stopping parents trying to get their children to or from school.
“Our community is under siege,” said Detroit resident and community organizer Francisco Flores. “Families should feel safe to drop their children off in the morning, not wondering if that will be the last time they see their kids. ICE needs to follow its own rules, and treat us with basic human dignity.”
Speakers also called on Congress and the President to make immigration reform the first priority of 2013. In light of the massive wave of support for President Obama by Latino, Arab-American and immigrant voters, there is a mandate for changing our immigration laws and keeping families together.
Editor’s Note: More information can be found at the event page within the Alliance for Immigrant Rights and Reform’s Facebook page:www.facebook.com/ReformImmigrationForAmericaMI.