Kalamazoo DACA Activists Released from Jail, Face Court Date

A group of eight people who were arrested in Kalamazoo on Tuesday when they formed a human chain to block a busy intersection in support of recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have been released from jail, the Great Lakes Beacon has confirmed.

The individuals were charged with misdemeanors as it relates to an act of civil disobedience in violation of the city charter. They all face a September 19 court date, reports have indicated, and a crowdfunding campaign has been set up to assist with their costs/provide updates.

The individuals were among roughly 100 people who showed up to a rally to “defend DACA” in the wake of the Trump administration announcing its decision to rescind the program first created by former President Barack Obama in 2012.

DACA allowed eligible children of undocumented immigrants to temporarily stay and live in America so long as they were attending school, held a job and had no criminal convictions, among other requirements, such as paying a fee to be in the program.

“All of them are citizen allies of immigrants affected by (the) decision on DACA,” Erik Shelley, spokesperson for Michigan United, said in an e-mail about the arrested individuals.

The event in Kalamazoo on Tuesday evening began in Bronson Park, where speakers and DREAMers – people who have benefited from DACA and would otherwise have protections under proposed legislation, Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act – spoke about the social and economic benefits of DACA.

It is estimated that some 800,000 individuals have benefited from DACA, roughly 6,400 of whom live in Michigan.

The Great Lakes Beacon was on hand to document some of the speeches and the roughly two-block walk to the intersection of W. Michigan Ave. and Westnedge in Kalamazoo, where protesters blocked traffic and the human chain refused to leave the intersection even after local police informed them they would soon be arrested for not clearing the scene.

Video and pictures are available on the Beacon’s Facebook page.

Danielle Emerson

Danielle Emerson