Lindsay Knake, MLive, July 14, 2014
More than 50 people from across Michigan turned out to protest the possibility that a Vassar facility could house Central American children and teens who have fled into the country.
The group, led by Michiganders for Immigration Control and Enforcement organizer Tamyra Murray, marched a little more than a mile, from Vassar City Hall to Wolverine Human Services’ Pioneer Work and Learn Center.
Some carried AR-15 rifles and handguns, while others carried Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, American flags and Rochester resident Jeff McQueen’s “second American revolution” flags, designed from Betsy Ross’ flag with a Roman Numeral II in the middle.
Grosse Pointe Park-based Wolverine Human Services is negotiating a contract with anti-poverty organization Heartland Alliance in Chicago to provide temporary housing to 12- to 17-year-old males from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
The prospect has caused a stir in Vassar, a city of about 2,700 people about 20 miles east of Saginaw in Tuscola County. In the past week, the community has hosted two protests and a July 9 informational meeting, which more than 200 people attended.
Nearly 60,000 children and teens from the Central American countries have turned up at U.S. borders since October, and federal officials are deciding how to handle the influx of unauthorized immigrants. That could include subcontracting for temporary housing with facilities such as Wolverine’s Pioneer Work and Learn Center.
As the protestors walked a mile to the Pioneer Work and Learn Center, drivers passing by waved and honked in support. Protesters carried signs saying, “seal the border,” “it’s law–deport” and “no illegals.”
Scott Freeman, a Millington resident and owner of Finish Line Pizza in Vassar, was out holding a second American revolution flag. He said he joined the protest because the government thinks it can step on who it wants to step on.
“We don’t have no say. (President Barack) Obama’s gotta go,” he said.
Once the group reached Pioneer Work and Learn Center’s gates, the group stopped in a turnaround, said a prayer for the government to make the right decision and sang “God Bless America.”
McQueen, the designer of the “second American revolution” flag, said another revolution is happening–the people against the federal government.
He came to Vassar to protest Central American children coming to the town.
“Not in my backyard,” he said. “These kids are here illegally. Obama has ignored us.
“He’s calling illegal immigrants undocumented immigrants. It’s like calling drug dealers undocumented pharmacists.”
If the meaning of words change, he said, the rule of law has no meaning.
“That’s anarchy,” McQueen said.