citizenship

via Michigan United

Immigrant advocates in southeast Michigan have launched a push to make more people US citizens.

The New Americans campaign is on the ground in eight U.S. cities, including metro Detroit.

The area is home to large numbers of people who are permanent residents, but haven’t taken the steps to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Diego Bonesatti, legal director for the pro-immigrant group Michigan United, says that’s in part because the immigration process has become a lot more complex in recent years.

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The Fourth of July is a time for family, fireworks, picnics, and pies.

But it is also a time when many reflect on what it means to be an American.

Here at Michigan Radio, we’re putting together some special stories for Fourth of July. We want to know, what does America mean to you?

We each have a deeply personal story about being an American. Perhaps you have a story about immigration or maybe you or a loved one has served time in the military. Others may appreciate a particular American freedom that is not universally a guaranteed right in other countries.

Lead in text: 
A hearing on the ACLU's lawsuit over Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's requirement to have a citizenship checkbox on all ballots is expected within the next week. Several county clerks around the state are refusing to follow through with the requirement. Detroit election workers were instructed to black out the box.
Politics & Government
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This week Morning Edition Host Christina Shockley and Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry talked about the lawsuit filed against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. The lawsuit challenges Johnson’s instruction that voters who show up on Election Day should be asked whether they are US citizens. Shockley and Lessenberry also talked about Governor Rick Snyder's trade mission to China.

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Secretary of State being sued over citizenship question

"A coalition of unions, voters, county clerks and civil rights groups is suing Secretary of State Ruth Johnson in federal court. The lawsuit challenges Johnson’s instruction that voters who show up on Election Day should be asked whether they are US citizens. But no one can legally be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box. The lawsuit was filed yesterday in US District Court in Detroit. Johnson’s office would not comment specifically on the lawsuit. But she has said the question is simply meant to remind people that only U-S citizens can vote in elections," Rick Pluta reports.

Medicaid tax falls $130-million short of projections

"The state could lose up to $260-million in federal funding for Medicaid this year. That's because of lower-than-expected revenues from Michigan's new one-percent tax on health insurance claims, which started in January. The tax will bring in $130-million less than originally projected for the current fiscal year. That means Michigan will have less money to qualify for federal matching dollars," Jake Neher reports.

CAW extends contracts with GM and Chrysler

The AP reports the Canadian Auto workers union says it has agreed to extend its current contracts with General Motors and Chrysler. Negotiations on new deals continue,

The union had set a midnight strike deadline. But President Ken Lewenza said talks would go past the deadline if there was progress. Earlier Monday the C-A-W reached a 4 -year deal with Ford that freezes pay and cuts wages for new hires. The union wants the deal to be the template for contracts with G-M and Chrysler. A CAW spokeswoman wouldn't say how long the contracts will be extended.

Voting booth
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Update 4:39 p.m.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is being sued for ordering a citizenship question onto forms handed to voters at their local precincts. It asks people to check a box affirming their U.S. citizenship. But no one can legally be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box.
    
Jocelyn Benson directs the Michigan Center for Election Law, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. She said Secretary of State Johnson is acting outside the realm of her authority.

"And it's not going to prevent non-citizens from voting, but it is something that will create and has created some confusion in our elections process," said Benson.

The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

Johnson's office would not comment specifically on the lawsuit. But she has said the question is simply meant to remind people that only U.S. citizens can vote in elections.

3:06 p.m.

Some county clerks are suing the state over boxes on voter forms that ask people whether they are citizens.

The lawsuit will say that Secretary of State Ruth Johnson does not have the authority on her own to put the boxes on election forms. A voter cannot be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box.

Earlier this year, Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that would have required voter forms to include a citizenship question.

(we'll update this post - check back)

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Some election officials will ignore citizenship question at polls

"A handful of local election officials say they won't ask voters to affirm their U-S citizenship at the polls in November. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson wants ballot applications to include the question. A spokesman for the Secretary of State's office says the intent is to clean up voter rolls. Until 2008, the federal government required the Secretary of State to ask anyone who got a driver's license whether they wanted to register to vote. Some non-citizens were inadvertently registered, although it's not clear how many," Sarah Hulett reports.

Palisades inspections start this week

"Federal inspectors begin a critical review of operations at West Michigan’s Palisades nuclear power plant beginning Monday. Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors want to determine if Palisades’ owners have addressed problems that have raised questions about the nuclear plant’s “culture of safety." The problems have resulted in four unscheduled reactor shutdowns. If Palisades doesn’t get very good ratings from the NRC inspectors, the west Michigan nuclear plant will be subject to a much more intensive inspection that could take 18 months. Despite the problems a federal official insists Palisades can be operated safely," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan Civilian Conservation Corp gets support

"Colleges, universities, and community groups are lining up to support an effort to revive Michigan’s Civilian Conservation Corps. The corps puts unemployed young adults to work on conservation projects. Legislation at the state Capitol would turn the MCCC into a public-private partnership, which wouldn’t use any taxpayer dollars. But not everyone thinks the program can just sprout back up overnight. The program hasn’t had adequate state funding for years. But sponsors of the bi-partisan bill say the level of enthusiasm so far suggests the program can make a strong comeback," Jake Neher reports.