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Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A 19-year old Haitian man who came to the U.S. seeking asylum could be deported soon. The U.S. government being slow to act could be part of the reason.

Williams Sejour came to the U.S. when he was 16. He was looking to escape his abusive family. Sejour turned himself into authorities at the U.S. southern border, making him a so-called “arriving alien” rather than an illegal alien.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A West Michigan mother says she hopes Michigan policymakers will intervene to spare her son from deportation.

Marilú Parra-Velázquez says she brought her son Brandon Reyes to the U.S. from Mexico when he was five.

For him, Grand Rapids is home, she says. He’s active in his community and in his church, and she says he’s a good role model for his two younger sisters, who are U.S. citizens.

“Our family, the suffering we feel,” Parra-Velázquez said at a press conference today near Grand Rapids. She spoke in Spanish.

Mis hijas lo extraña mucho.”

Rafael DeJesus
Berenice Albright

After serving more than 25 years in prison, Rafael DeJesus had his sentence commuted by former Governor Rick Snyder last year, but now he faces deportation.

DeJesus came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when he was 15, and at 22, while he was a legal resident, he was sentenced to 60-100 years for cocaine possession with the intent to sell.


Grand Rapids Police Department station
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan has asked a civilian board to review a controversial case involving the Grand Rapids Police Department.

The case is over Jilmar Ramos-Gomez. He’s a U.S. citizen and a war veteran. He was mistakenly detained by immigration authorities last year based on a tip from the GRPD.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A Grand Rapids City Commission meeting had to end early last night, after protestors disrupted the meeting.

The protestors, organized by Movimiento Cosecha GR, called on the city to end all police cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE.

“ICE and cops go hand in hand,” dozens of protestors shouted, while standing in front of commission members.

photo courtesy of the family of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez


courtesy Movimiento Cosecha GR

A well-known immigration activist in West Michigan says he’s trying to stay optimistic after being arrested this week to face possible deportation.

Brandon Reyes is currently in the Calhoun County Correction Facility, which has an agreement to hold immigration detainees. Reyes grew up in Grand Rapids and is part of the “Dreamer” generation of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. He was enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was created to protect young immigrants from deportation.

photo courtesy of the family of Jilmar Ramos-Gomez

Jilmar Ramos-Gomez is a U.S. citizen. Born in Grand Rapids. He served in the Marines and saw combat in Afghanistan.

And last month federal immigration authorities took him into custody to face possible deportation.

Attorneys and immigration advocates in West Michigan are now demanding to know why, and how, this happened.