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Michigan families, clergy to rally for immigration reform plan

Mar 16, 2016

DAPA supporters at St. Gabriel Catholic church in Detroit.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some metro Detroit families and faith leaders are headed to the U.S. Supreme Court next month, to take part in a national rally supporting President Obama’s immigration policy.

The Court is set to hear arguments on the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) plan, which Obama created via a 2014 executive order.

It would protect many undocumented immigrants with U.S. citizen children from deportation.

But a Texas court put a freeze on the plan, allowing a legal challenge by a number of state attorneys general, including Michigan’s Bill Schuette.

They argue the president overstepped his constitutional authority with the order.

But immigrant activists counter that immigration policy has historically been a prerogative of the Executive Branch.

And they say delaying programs like DAPA that’s caused further suffering and separation of families, including some in Michigan.

Melissa Guillen is a U.S. citizen, and so are her four children. Her father and husband have already been deported, and she says without DAPA, her mother could be deported too.

“I am very thankful that my mother is with us, because she is the only support I have left,” Guillen said.

Paul Perez, a pastor at Detroit’s Central United Methodist Church, said the Court should side with keeping families together.

“We need the Supreme Court to decide in favor of DAPA, so that we as a nation might hear a wise word that calls us back to our deepest ideals,” Perez said. “Ideals that see the dignity of every human person. That sees immigrants not as criminals, but as family members.”

The Family Unity march will take place April 18.