President Donald Trump said he wanted to go after “bad hombres,” but his immigration policies affect more than just those who are here and have committed crimes. Undocumented immigrants with no criminal history are also being deported. That's the case with a Michigan father of four who's been told he has to leave the country by the end of the month. 

flickr/chrisgold CC by-NC

Thousands of young immigrants in Michigan today are living in a state of limbo. 

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to end the Obama administration's deferred action program that allowed these young immigrants to go to school, and work, without fear of deportation. 

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Wikimedia Commons

Young immigrants were filled with joy and hope when President Obama signed the executive order called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) almost five years ago.

But today, those feelings of excitement have changed to ones of fear and apprehension.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

For the past several days, there have been many, many stories about President Trump’s actions on refugee policy, and his administration’s travel ban for people from 7 Muslim-majority nations.

But last week, the President also signed one other executive action that could have a big impact on immigrants in Michigan.

The action spelled out how Trump’s administration would prioritize its deportations for undocumented immigrants. The plan Trump announced means lawmakers in Lansing could have a huge say in who will be targeted in Michigan.

Two undocumented students discuss their diverging fates

Aug 10, 2016

Two young immigrants in Michigan caught in the middle of an immigration stalemate are Daniel Lopez and Sendy Lopez.

The two friends are not related. Daniel came to the United States from Guatemala when he was seven. Thanks to the 2012 executive order known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Daniel is now among some 700,000 young people who are protected from being deported.

courtesy Vanessa Gutierrez

Vanessa Gutierrez doesn't remember Mexico.

It's there in her baby pictures, in family albums. She's seen what it looks like, and she knows she was born there, but she doesn't remember it.

Her parents brought her to the U.S. when she was three. They worked hard, she says, they paid their taxes and went to church and gave her a great childhood.

Then Gutierrez got to high school, and started thinking about her future.

Gutierrez says it was right around the time her friends started signing up for driver’s ed.

"And I remember talking to my parents about it," she says. "And number one was the cost. They couldn’t afford it, for me to take that course. And, number two, when I started asking other questions, such as 'can I enroll in college?' that’s when I started to find out those answers."


Three years ago this month, a new federal program got underway that’s since affected the lives of more than half a million young Americans – thousands of whom live in Michigan.

The program came with a characteristically bureaucratic acronym. And, like many things done by the federal government, it’s been controversial.

The program is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. 

Maybe it didn’t have a huge impact on your life at the time. But Liz Balck Monsma remembers how it affected hers.  

"It was a crazy time, three years ago," she says, "when we were just trying to get as many kids screened and processed as possible."

Since the 2012 election there's been more bipartisan movement on immigration policy than we've seen in a long time. Just this week, here in Michigan, the Secretary of State began issuing driver's licenses to immigrants who qualify for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. But perhaps lost in the discussion are the many immigrants who continue to achieve their citizenship dreams as the children of parents who are naturalized citizens. Photographer John Moore was at the federal courthouse in Manhattan this week to take portraits of some of the country's newest citizens, ranging in age from 5 to 41. Interestingly, Moore charged his assistant with recording not only the names of the kids, but also their parents' occupations. How will the lives of children living in poverty change with incremental shifts in immigration policy at the state and federal levels? It's something to ponder, but in the meantime, enjoy the faces of these new U.S. citizens.