11/14/13 Monday evening members of the Plymouth Common Council heard a request for support of the fair immigration bill that passed in the Senate. Michelle Livinghouse and Kelliey Chavez with Friends of Marshall County for Immigration Reform addressed the Common Council seeking their support of the Senate Bill through a resolution.
Chavez spoke about the rally that was held in early October. From that event the crowd sent 150 postcards to Congressman Jackie Walorski asking for her to consider a fair immigration reform bill. She also noted that currently there is a letter writing campaign and a petition drive for signatures.
Livinghouse said, “Many constituents are concerned about immigration reform.” With the Hispanic population in Plymouth at 20% she has heard of all kinds of situations where a parent or both are undocumented but the children have been born here and are citizens. Many times the family members have been here for decades but came illegally. She said, “They want to start the process without fear of deportation.”
When asked how many of the 20% are here illegally Livinghouse had no idea. She did indicate that most citizens of Plymouth can trace their roots back to immigrants who crossed the oceans before all the documentation was required. She said, “I have a Hispanic grandson who’s roots in the United States and longer than my Romanian family’s.
Councilman Don Ecker said he had concerns noting, “Many come through the proper channels. I struggle with those who don’t follow the proper channels. Laws and rules have been established and my need to be tweaked but we still need to follow them.”
Councilman Wayne Smith has done some investigation on the immigration reform bill that was passed by the Senate. He noted that the application fee is $595.00 and that applicants must be able to read, write and speak English and take a 100 question test.
Councilman Mike Delp said he didn’t feel he could every support a resolution on immigration because he doesn’t know how the citizens feel on immigration and more importantly on the Senate bill for immigration reform. He commented, “I’m not sure we were elected to do that.” He also said his company has three Hispanic workers one which they sent to school, one who is in training now and one that will go next year. They have followed the laws set out by our government. Delp explained that their family had an exchange student from Bolivia for a year. He came back to the USA graduated from IU became a citizen and now works for the family’s company. He indicated that if becoming a citizen of the US is important enough it is attainable with effort and work.
Livinghouse explained that the Senate bill passed with bipartisanship and they are hoping to encourage Congressman Walorski to consider the bill in the House. She said if the City of Plymouth and other towns in Walorski’s district would approve resolutions saying they support fair immigration reform that the Congresswoman might take a harder look at the bill.
Councilman Ecker said he would not vote in favor of the resolution without the opportunity to review the Senate Bill that was approved in the Senate.
The City Council took no action on the request.