Sturgis Hispanics getting ready for new immigration measure

STURGIS, Mich. -- For the past six years, Didimo Arreola has been helping Hispanic families live better lives in St. Joe County Michigan.

"It's very important here," said Arreola, Vice President of the St. Joe County Hispanic Council. "I'm actually a youth director for a church here too. I know a lot of youth have that issue. They can't work, because they are undocumented."

But this week, that's set to change. The Department of Homeland Security is implementing President Obama's deferred action plan; allowing unauthorized immigrants to fill out an application to seek work in the United States legally.

"I relate to them," Arreola said. "Because I would be in their same situation if it weren't for Ronald Reagan's immigration opportunity that he gave in the 1980's." 

Arreola isn't sure on the number of people living illegally in Sturgis, Michigan. But he says hispanics account for almost a third of the city's total population.

He's hoping this week's application process will allow more people to contribute to the local economy.

"We're trying to inform them, and make sure they make an educated decision after we provide them the information," Arreola said.

The application is free to download. And there is a $465 fee when submitting it to DHS. Applications will only be accepted staring Aug. 15.


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