Protesters meet in Vassar to speak out against immigrants - WNEM TV 5

Protesters meet in Vassar to speak out against immigrants potentially coming to town

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VASSAR, MI (WNEM) -

It's a problem flooding the nation from the south. Undocumented children are entering the country with nowhere to go. And now Mid-Michigan is being considered as a possible refuge.

The immigration controversy that has made headlines nationally spilled onto the Vassar City Hall lawn Monday night. A local facility could potentially house up to 60 undocumented young immigrants who are seeking refuge into the United States.

"We're here to say no. It's ridiculous," said Brian Brown, who opposes the idea.

"I wouldn't want my kids over there. And if we're over there, I'd hope the United States would help me," said Karleen Bellamy, who said the children from Central America need a refuge.

Wolverine Human Services in Vassar is currently negotiating a contract to give immigrants temporary housing, medical treatment and education while working to locate family members in the U.S. On Monday night, more than 100 people who are against it protested in front of city hall.

"I think it's time that people stand up," said Flushing resident Debbie Brown.

"It's about the American government, Democrat or Republican, getting off their lazy butts and passing a decent bill where we can screen our immigrants, make sure they're not felons, diseased or whatever, and get a program set up to bring them into this country," said Vassar resident Jack Smith.

But those were not the only voices being heard tonight. Others who spoke out said America should be a safe haven for children who escaped the turmoil in Central America.

"I knew that we would be outcounted here, but I think people just need to understand that these are just kids," said Bellamy.

"These children are coming because they believe in the promise of America, that if you are willing to seek shelter here, and you're in trouble, that we can take care of you if you have a fair claim to be a refuge," said Ryan Bates, the director of Michigan United.

Several people expressed their concerns to the Vassar City Council on Monday night.

This Wednesday, there is an informational meeting scheduled at Vassar High School at 6 p.m. to discuss what program Wolverine Human Services could bring to the city.

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