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12-20-2012, 01:09 AM #1
MI - Mayor Heartwell is asked to advocate for young, illegal immigrants to obtain dri
Mayor Heartwell is asked to advocate for young, illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses
By Sandra Chang
on December 19, 2012 at 8:30 AM, updated December 19, 2012 at 8:39 AM
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - A small group of people met with Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell this week and asked him to use his influence in Lansing to support the push for young, illegal immigrants' ability to obtain driver’s licenses.
Luz Calvo, who organized the 10-person group, collected 9,000 signatures prior to the meeting and described Heartwell as friendly and interested.
“He wanted to know more about the immigration issue and if these kids are going to depend on the government,” she said.
President Barack Obama’s deferral plan grants young, illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States before they turned 16 a two-year work permit and promises not to deport them in the next two years. Applicants must not have a criminal background and must have completed high school. But the executive order does not grant legal status.
Michigan's Secretary of State has said her office will not issue driver's licenses to these permit holders.
Tom Almonte, assistant to the city manager, was also in the meeting and he said Heartwell wanted to have more information so he ‘could take the appropriate steps.’
“Following the holidays, Mayor Heartwell is going to engage at the state level to make sure they (legislators) get the information they need to receive,” said Almonte.
“It’s vital that people know that Heartwell is concerned about all the members of our community,” he said.
In the meantime, Calvo will continue to collect signatures. She said supporters have already turned in almost 1,000 to Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll and almost 2,000 to Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra.
“We haven’t stopped. I am sure Mayor Heartwell will continue to receive more signatures in the mail” she said.
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