Local activists say the partial federal government shutdown is taking a toll on immigrants and their families.
They held a small rally in Southwest Detroit on Tuesday calling for an end to the shutdown.
Immigration attorney Migladys Bermudez spoke at the protest. She tells WDET’s Jake Neher the entire immigration system has been disrupted.
“Immigration judges are not working. Some of them are, but not the majority,” says Bermudez. “Right here in Michigan, only detained immigrants are being heard. So, if you’re non-detained, your case has to be scheduled because there’s no one to hear them.”
“There are thousands of immigrants around the United State who are waiting for their day in court and now are not going to get it until God knows when,” she continues.
Bermudez says, for many immigrants, that means they can lose the validity of their evidence. She says the older the case gets for some, the weaker it becomes. For some, the delay could be a benefit. But she says the majority of immigrants want their cases heard.
There’s also an irony, she says, in the fact that President Trump’s willingness to extend the shutdown over border security is also keeping many illegal immigrants here in the United States longer than they would otherwise be able to stay.
Click on the audio player above to hear that conversation.