undocumented immigrants

The U.S. appears to be on the verge of the biggest immigration changes in a generation. Legislation being debated in Congress would allow many immigrants who are now here illegally an eventual path to citizenship.

Rashida Tlaib (D) is a state representative from the 6th district and is one of 55 state and local officials who wrote a letter to four big names in Washington D.C.

Tlaib and others called on John Boehner (House Speaker), Nancy Pelosi (House Minority Leader), Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader) and Mitch McConnell (Senate Minority Leader) to help lead the way on our country's immigration policies.

nancybechtol / Morguefile

There are eight to 10 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, all of whom are central to the heated immigration debate in Washington D.C. 

More specifically, there are undocumented immigrants who are part of a mixed family - in which one family member is undocumented while the rest of the family are American citizens. 

"It's a horrible tragedy and a national shame, but looking on the bright side, [mixed families] have reframed the debates and things are finally looking like something might happen on immigration reform in Washington," said David Koelsch.

Koelsch is an immigration lawyer and a professor at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School.

"You can talk about the eight to 11 million [undocumented immigrants], but all of those people have loved ones and employers...it has a much broader effect in our society and economy beyond just those people," he said.

State begins to issue limited-term driver's licenses

Feb 19, 2013
Courtesy: 1michigan.org

Michigan begins to make driver's licenses available today to undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. The new rules apply to people who qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Under these new rules other people will also be able to take advantage of these limited-term licenses, including international students and workers. Listen to the full interview with Gisgie Gendreau, Communications Director for the Michigan Department of State.

State to issue licenses to eligible undocumented immigrants

Feb 18, 2013
Secretary of State

Beginning Tuesday, certain undocumented immigrants living in Michigan will be able to get driver's licenses and state IDs.

Earlier this month, Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson reversed her position and said immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and are eligible for temporary federal work permits can get licenses.

Johnson changed her position after the Obama administration clarified that individuals eligible for the permits, called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, can obtain licenses.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Undocumented immigrants to get state IDs

"Illegal immigrants brought to the country as children can start applying for Michigan driver's licenses and state IDs this week. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's office will begin accepting applications Tuesday," the Associated Press reports.

Lawmakers lobby to maintain Michigan's film tax incentive

"Michigan film producers and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville say they will lobby to maintain the state's $50 million film credits cap. Governor Rick Snyder is calling for a $25 million dollar cap in film incentives in the budget he has proposed. The amount is the same he proposed last year, but lawmakers raised the cap to $50 million during budget negotiations," the Associated Press reports.

Flint mayor to address his State of the City today

"Flint’s mayor plans to use his State of the City address today to talk about how his city can start planning for a future without an emergency financial manager. A state appointed manager has been running the city since December 2011," Steve Carmody reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Thousands of children of undocumented immigrants in Michigan are now eligible for a driver’s license or official state ID.

Wendy Medrano / Michigan Organizing Project

More people are protesting against a decision to deny Michigan driver's licenses to immigrants granted work permits under a new federal deferred-action program.

President Obama announced the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" program in June. It provides work permits and Social Security cards to young people brought to the United States without legal permission.

But Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will not issue those in the program driver’s licenses because she says they don’t have legal status.

A non-profit organization in Kalamazoo is trying to help young undocumented immigrants sort through a new federal process that could prevent them from getting deported.

The director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the process earlier this month.

Lori Mercedes is the Executive Director of the Kalamazoo-based Hispanic American Council. She says many immigrants have been calling with questions about the process but are nervous about exposing their legal status.

“This brought it up to the light and forced a conversation about it. It made it into an issue; now we have to talk about it,” Mercedes said. “It’s exciting…we can tell our kids go ahead and dream and have hope. There is hope for you after all.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A major change in U.S. immigration policy is getting a mixed reaction from advocates for undocumented immigrants in Michigan. 

user mconnors / morgueFile

Low-income immigrants in the Washtenaw County area will soon be able to get free legal help from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s Ann Arbor campus.

Jason Eyster, an associate professor at Cooley Law School, will run the new immigrant rights clinic. He says they’ll be able to take up to six immigration cases at a time, dealing with a variety of issues:

"In the immigration area: individuals are seeking asylum, seeking withholding of removal,  seeking cancelation of removal, or seeking clarity on what their rights may or may not be," said Eyster.

Eyster says they’ll also help immigrants with other issues, like "foreclosure, landlord-tenant, custody issues, and that sort of thing."

The clinic doesn't open until next month, but Eyster says they're already booked.

(courtesy of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin's Office)

An incoming University of Michigan student has taken her fight against being deported to Washington D.C.  Ola Kaso testified before a U.S. Senate committee in favor of the Dream Act.   The bill would allow the children of undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. to pursue their educations. 

Kaso says she has tried to take advantage of the education opportunity given to  her, an opportunity now threatened by deportation to Albania.

Pages