Michigan residents protest housing illegal immigrant minors

Events along the southern border of the United States are having an effect far away from Arizona, California, and Texas where tens of thousands of illegal aliens, many of them minors, have crossed into the U.S. this year. Military bases and other government facilities are overwhelmed by the numbers of aliens, some of whom are to be processed for possible refugee status and reunification with family members elsewhere in the country. The federal government is seeking to hire hundreds of attorneys and judges to adjudicate appeals for asylum, and to adequately house immigrants now being warehoused along the border with Mexico.
 
Residents of Vassar, a small town in rural Michigan about 150 miles north of Detroit, gathered outside of city council chambers to voice their opinions about the possible housing of immigrants at a secure facility nearby operated by Wolverine Human Services. More than one hundred protesters for and against housing the immigrants in their community showed up on July 7 while city council members heard residents’ concerns. Wolverine is currently being considered for a federal contract to house Central American illegal immigrants. Reports differ as to the number to be housed, ranging from 60 to 200.  The event was peaceful even while tempers flared. State troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and local police kept good order.  At least two men were admitted into council chambers bearing firearms.
 
Approximately 80 protesters, some bearing Gadsen flags and others carrying AR-15 style rifles and pistols voiced opposition to the plan to house the immigrants near Vassar. Placards called for impeaching President Obama, while others bore slogans such as ‘Illegals Send them Back’, ‘Save the Constitution’ and ‘No Vacancy Check at White House.’ Speakers said that the U.S. already has veterans, children, and others in need and should not admit any other needy people. Speaking to the crowd, a man bearing a rifle and a pistol said “The American way of life now is to suck off all our tits.”
 
In an interview, Nick Schlatter said why he had come to the protest. Schlatter also said that the federal government should investigate how foreign aid dollars are being used in the immigrants’ countries of origin. He also said that he is familiar with poverty in Mexico, having gone there to build a school. He also expressed frustration that some Americans are taking advantage of immigrants and undercutting wages in general. 
 
Among the protesters with a different point of view was Pastor Monica Villarreal, who leads a Lutheran congregation in Flint Michigan. She also said that the Lutheran church is lending a hand to immigrant children who she characterized as traumatized refugees.A town hall meeting was held on July 9 in Vassar at the local high school, allowing residents to air conflicting views on a complex and developing issue. Approximately 300 people attended the July 9 meeting and presentation by Wolverine Human Services.


Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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