Dozens of pro-immigration supporters rallied in Lansing on Wednesday, asking leaders to declare the city a safe place for Central American children who crossed the border illegally. Now the group has found support in an important place, the mayor's office.
It's a debate that has sparked protests across the county. Action of Greater Lansing, a pro-immigration group, is asking people to put their differences aside and focus on helping the refugee children.
"The debate is here and opinions are being expressed here so we're about saying lets all lend a compassionate voice and heart to the needs of these children," said Fr. Fren Thelen, Co-President of Action of Greater Lansing and priest at Cristo Rey Church.
The group is asking city council to pass a resolution to show their support. They're hoping this gesture will quiet anti-illegal immigration groups.
"We want all agencies in the city of Lansing and all churches and institutions that have resources to say 'what can we do?' And together we can do a lot," Thelen said.
Before they take their cause to city council next week, Mayor Bernero says they have his support.
"Lansing has a history of opening its doors and opening its arms to refugees from all over the world," he said. "There's no reason we wouldn't continue to do that."
Even though Mayor Bernero says he will welcome these immigrants, no agencies have reached out to him for help and he hasn't heard of any immigrant groups coming to the area. Other aid groups may have plans to bring in refugees, but the Mayor says regardless the city is ready to help
"The issue is the welfare of children, these kids are in harms way they're scared and they deserve to be in a safe caring environment," Bernero said.
Putting political differences aside to focus on another issue.
"No matter what anybody thinks about the immigration debate going on or how immigration law should be reformed--what it looks like, If we can't care for children what does it say about us as a nation what does it say about us as a people," Thelen said.