Government Shutdown Draws the Ire of Activists in Southwest Detroit

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

The group was comprised of immigrant families and those who support their rights, but “immigration” wasn’t the only word on their lips.

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Activists gather at the east landing of the Bagley Street pedestrian bridge.Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Activists gather at the east landing of the Bagley Street pedestrian bridge.

A group of activists rallied to oppose the on-going partial shutdown of the federal government Tuesday — staging themselves on Bagley Street in Southwest Detroit.

Those who spoke voiced frustration over the treatment of immigrants in the U.S., as well as Washington’s apparent inability to end the budget standoff.  

Nicole Breadon is an organizer of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network.  She says the shutdown could affect services for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Protection for woman and vulnerable families,” says Breadon, “is too important to be held hostage by a battle over funding for a border wall.”

Programs for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault are appropriated through the Violence Against Women Act, which gets its funding from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 2018,” Breadon explains, “Michigan communities received approximately $12 million to provide information and services to address domestic violence, sexual assault, and more.  Funding is suppose to run out by the end of February if an agreement isn’t reached.”

Migladys Bermudez speaks at the demonstration.Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Migladys Bermudez speaks at the demonstration.

Issues surrounding the topic of legal asylum were also brought up at the demonstration.  Immigration attorney Migladys Bermudez says the proposed border wall would stand in the way of those planning to enter the country before starting the process.

Why is encountering the United States one of the scariest parts [of] migrating?” says Bermudez. “[Immigrants] should be aloud to claim asylum, come into this country, and await their legal process inside.”

Click here to hear a full interview with Bermudez about the shutdown and its effects on immigrants.

The government shutdown has also impacted the process for those already on U.S. soil.  While asylum seekers are still able to file paperwork, the immigration courts which hear those cases remain closed and face lengthy backlogs once reopened. 

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the federal government shutdown is now in its 26th day.

Alex McLenon, Associate Producer

Alex McLenon is an Associate Producer with 101.9 WDET. McLenon has many interests; from cars and sports to arts and science. During college he amassed four years of experience as a Zamboni driver and acknowledges spending far too much money on his CD collection.

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