Local immigration advocates react to family separation

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - As agents from Homeland Security detain parents and house their children in temporary shelters, local immigration activists gathered at the Cristo Rey Church in Lansing to discuss family separation practices.

News 10's Cryss Walker was there.

“They see you”, said community activist Andrea Rodriguez.

“Their little eyes are looking at you and they're saying ‘mama, mommy’ and you can't do a darn thing about it.”

Thursday dozens of people showed up to a town hall meeting to talk about a practice that's happening at the southern U.S. border.

“Families that are entering with that idea that they would seek asylum are now perhaps going to be prosecuted under criminal law”, said immigration lawyer Pamela Davies.

The McGinty Law Firm attorney says parents who attempt to cross the border illegally can now be separated from their children.

“Until you go through the process you may never see your child again”, said Davies.

“I mean that's the reality of it… because if you are criminally prosecuted and convicted, you may end up in federal prison, so how will you be reunited?”

Activists from Action of Greater Lansing and the Civil Rights of Immigrants Task Force say their mission is to get local lawmakers involved and ask for comprehensive immigration reform.

“Right now there are no legal options for my mother to stay in the United States”, said Samad Nadeem, an immigration activist from Kalamazoo, MI.

“The biggest thing that people can do right now is talk to their Congress people and have them do something about it.”

Reform Nadeem says is vital for his family.

“The Dream Act came out which allowed my sister and I to stay here legally and under the Dream Act my mother was also allowed to stay because we were too young to take care of ourselves”, Nadeem explained.
“She was supposed to check in with the government every year and at this last check-in was the first check-in under the Trump Administration and basically she was told to pack her bags and leave”, Nadeem continued.

Organizers say they will continue to meet to discuss and address immigration issues.

The next meeting is Tuesday July 10th at the Cristo Rey Church in Lansing.