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Michigan immigrants call for path to citizenship from around the world

Senators Stabenow and Peters can incorporate American Dream in infrastructure bills

Immigrants living in Michigan shared stories of America’s interconnectedness with the rest of the world in a unique online press conference Thursday. Some joined from their native lands to demonstrate how current US immigration law keeps their families separated and hinders American progress. They were all calling upon Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to champion the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship in pending infrastructure legislation.

Immigrants helped build America’s infrastructure and the only way we can build back better is by passing a pathway to citizenship for all,” said Danny Caracheo Teniente from the US border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico. The DACA recipient from Grand Rapids, Michigan was on his way to visit his family for the first time in 16 years. “While DACA helped open numerous opportunities for me, including this opportunity to see my family again, let's remember that DACA provides neither a permanent protection nor a pathway to citizenship.”

Agatha Carolina, a Legal Permanent Resident whose family came to the US in 2017 from Sao Paulo, Brazil. “My mother worked for a US automobile company in Brazil, but they needed her specific set of skills and experience at the Michigan headquarters,” said Carolina. “They brought her to Michigan because they needed her unique expertise, skills and experience. It is great that we are bringing talents like her to the U.S.” Carolina is a political science student at the University of Michigan and works with area non-profit organizations. “I am here to say that immigrants matter, immigrants are key for the success of this nation and deserve citizenship.”

The one person to join the event from the US was Cyndi Hicks, an immigrant rights activist from Grand Rapids whose 12 year old, American born daughter is visiting her dad in Guatemala for the first time in years. “Every child has a right to a family,” said Hicks. “But there are more than a million American children like mine who are living outside the country.” Hicks says her husband was the victim of a racially motivated attack before he was forced to leave and should be eligible for a new visa but his application hasn’t even been reviewed in more than 5 years. “We’re spending a lot of tax dollars to keep families separated.”

“Immigrants deserve citizenship, we kept Michigan running through the pandemic,” said Carolina. “We are calling on Senator Peters and Stabenow to support a pathway to citizenship in the infrastructure bills because our families have been separated for far too long.”

Those wishing to join the effort should call Sen. Peters at (202) 224-6221 and Sen. Stabenow at (202) 224-4822. Tell them you support the inclusion of a path to citizenship in the package of infrastructure bills moving through Congress.

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