Immigrant Story-telling and Basement Hearing Held At Cristo Rey

(Report By Aida Cuadrado
Lansing, MI, Action of Greater Lansing
The Action of Greater Lansing Civil Rights for Immigrants Task Force organized an immigration storytelling and “basement” hearing  last week. Over one hundred people attended, including immigrants from Africa, Mexico, South America, Caribbean, Iran, Iraq and China.
Immigrants shared their stories of being undocumented living in the United States along with the struggles they face even when they have their green cards and visas.
Ann shared about when she arrived with her visa she didn’t understand that staying would make her a criminal in the eyes of others and that even though people treat her like she has committed a serious crime she stated “I forgive them and understand that those people might not understand the situation that brought me to the America that I have fallen in love with”.
Lisa shared the struggles of the being married to someone who is undocumented and not being able to share the common experiences and responsibilities that a married couple should have. She shared that she has to put everything in her name: home, car, etc… She broke into tears during the sharing of the story stating “my husband was supposed to be here today, sharing his story with you. But he got called away for work and since it’s the only place he can work he must go or lose his job. There are months where he doesn’t even get paid.” 
Stories of suffering and sadness— yet these aspiring Americans love their city and State. And all shared the common declaration of wanting to participate fully in the American dream.
Rebecca Lair of St. Vincent Catholic Charities updated the group on what is happening with the current immigration bill. Fr. Fred Thelen of Cristo Rey Church shared a theological interpretation on what the bible teaches about immigration.
Congressman Mike Rogers, Dave Camp, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin were invited to the basement hearing, yet none of them showed up. The CRI task force will follow up with each of these members of congress by meeting with them and showing them our video on Monday’s event and request that they support a fair and just comprehensive immigration reform.
All 100 participants declared their personal commitment to supporting comprehensive reform.
The civil rights for immigrant’s task force meets on the last Tuesday of every month at Cristo Rey Parish 201 W Miller Rd in the Guadalupe room in the basement.

The ACTION and the CRI task force would like to  thank everyone for coming to the event. Contact actionofgreaterlansing@gmail with any questions.