Hope For Lansing's Illegal Immigrants

By: Hannah Saunders Email
By: Hannah Saunders Email

Ramiro Estrada was born near Mexico City; moving to Lansing with his parents illegally when he was 12: "For a better job, for a better life altogether ... They didn't want anything to happen to us down there."

Now he's 20, and hoping to become a nurse, but he's running low on money for a Bachelor's Degree since he can't legally work: "I graduated from High School, I did my two years in college, and now I'm pretty much just waiting for this."

He's planning on being accepted into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) program, and meets all the requirements. He moved here when he was younger than 16, is now between the ages of 16 and 30, has lived here more than five years, and has no criminal record.

"I know hundreds that fit into this category in the Lansing area," said Maximo Anguiano of the City's Civil Rights for Immigrants Task Force of Action.

He believes this is a good first step for the young immigrants living here, and across the country: "It wasn't their choice to come here, but they are here, and this is all they know."

But if these people are granted this temporary legal status, it will only last two years before they have to re-apply, and at that point, if they're denied or there's changes to the policy, their names are in the system.

"It's like living in fear," described Estrada; saying it's a bit of a leap of faith. "But, if nobody steps out, who will?"

Estrada trusts it will lead him to his dream of working in one of Michigan's hospitals as an official United States citizen.

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