DETROIT (WWJ) – A rally was held outside of St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Southwest Detroit part of an ongoing push for reforms to U.S. immigration laws.

Groups that make-up the Alliance for Immigrants Rights and Reform Michigan are calling for reforms that would remove obstacles like extended background checks that keep families separated for as long as 10 years. They’re also calling for new laws that would require potential offenders to be targeted based on their actions and not on ethnicity.

Present at Tuesday’s demonstration was Cindy Garcia, an American citizen whose husband has been fighting deportation to Mexico.

(credit: WWJ/Pat Sweeting)

(credit: WWJ/Pat Sweeting)

She told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Pat Sweeting that, so far, her activism and determination has paid off.

“We’ve contacted a lot of political people, and because I am a UAW Local 600 member, I got my CAP (Community Action Program) involved and they helped us on the political side, said Garcia. “My husband is still here thank God, and we are fighting to keep other families together and do not need to be separated and torn apart.”

Garcia’s husband was brought to the U.S. as a young child and she blames incompetent legal representation for the problems that created this current situation.  She said her husband is able to stay in the country, at least for now, since they were granted what’s called a family unity waiver.

Representing the National Network for Arab American Communities, part of the group ACCESS, Nadia Tonova said that comprehensive immigration reform is their goal.

“To the Arab American community it’s extremely important that we have an immigration system that’s fair, that allows for enough legal channels for people to be able to come here, to have a better life and to be reunited with their families,” said Tonova.

“And we want to make sure that we have a system that also protects due process and civil liberties,” she said.

The Alliance is launching a petition drive and plans to increase its lobbying efforts by delegations headed to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. lawmakers.


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