Citizens assemble to voice opinions on housing Central American refugee children at Wolverine Human Services

Photos by John Cook • Emotions ran high as protestors opposed to Wolverine Human Services housing Central American refugee children made their beliefs known Monday on the front lawn of Vassar City Hall. Other demonstrators also showed support for bringing Central American immigrants to the Wolverine Human Services camp in Vassar.

By Tom Gilchrist
For The Advertiser

VASSAR — Wolverine Human Services officials say Central American child refugees could arrive here in “a couple weeks,” though protesters didn’t roll out a welcome mat outside Vassar City Hall on Monday night.

“I want them to go home where they came from,” said Julie Blossom Hunt, 48, of Vassar, one   of several dozen people at a pro-    test held by Michiganders for Immigration Control and Enforcement, or MICE.

“I’m a big believer in going (to their home countries) and ministering to them, and helping improve their quality of life for them and for their future.”

Monday night’s gathering featured a number of counter-protesters who said they support housing refugees in Vassar, where about 115 jobs will be created if Wolverine lands two contracts to house 120 refugees at its Vassar location, according to Wolverine Senior Vice President Derrick McCree.

Neither contract is signed and official yet, he said, but he added that refugees could arrive within “a couple weeks” if contracts get signed without any setbacks.

McCree said about 15 people have been hired recently who could work with the refugees. He said he’ll answer questions tonight at a 6 p.m. public forum at Vassar High School.

Tens of thousands of children have crossed illegally into Texas in recent months from Central American countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Most are males and older than 14, according to federal sources. The federal government reports the youths flee to the U.S. to join family members already here, escape abuse or exploitation, or seek employment or educational opportunities.

McCree said the youths housed in Vassar will be males from ages 12 to 17. Wolverine will “provide medical care, feed them, teach them some survival skills and do trauma counseling” until federal officials can place the children with family members in the U.S., McCree said. At that point, Wolverine workers also would travel with the refugees to the youths’ new residences.

Hunt, however, used a megaphone Monday night to urge protesters to oppose bringing refugees to Michigan.

“We can’t stop it once they’re here,” said Hunt, who said she moved back to her hometown of Vassar from the Los Angeles area last year.

“We were told that out at Wolverine (off Enterprise Drive), it’s not going to be a locked-down facility,” Hunt told the crowd. “If those kids choose to walk away and start roaming around our community, we’re going to start having an increase in crime like we saw in L.A.”

Dan Zuzula, 55, of Vassar Township, said he opposes using taxpayer money to pay to house illegal immigrants.

“I’d love to have my grandchildren get better schooling here in Vassar instead of having to pay for illegals,” Zuzula said.

While grocery stores and other businesses might see increased revenue associated with feeding and caring for 120 refugees, Zuzula said “I won’t see any residuals in my pocket.”

McCree said Wolverine officials told Vassar city leaders that “if we land these two contracts, we could see 115 more people coming into the local economy, spending money at the McDonald’s or the gas stations, or everywhere else.”

Rev. Monica M. Villarreal, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Flint, said refugee children must be treated with respect, dignity and justice once they arrive here. She said the Bible indicates Jesus Christ and his family fled to Egypt when threatened by violence from King Herod.

“That’s how I see it — to remember that Jesus himself was a refugee and experienced something like what these kids are experiencing,” Villarreal said.

Ryan Bates, Dearborn-based executive director of Michigan United — which bills itself as fighting for the rights of illegal immigrants —  also came to Vassar on Monday as a counter-protester.

“We want to get out the message that these are children fleeing horrible violence in Central America,” Bates said. “They are refugees who deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. Honduras has become the murder capital of the world. It’s more dangerous than Afghanistan or Iraq.

“Young boys are being forced to join drug gangs. There is an epidemic of rape and sexual assault — girls as young as 10 years old being raped and becoming pregnant.”

If federal officials can’t reunify the refugees with a relative already in the U.S., they would seek a foster parent willing to care for the children, according to McCree.

Bringing refugees to Michigan won’t help an already struggling economy, according to Nick Schlatter, 26, of Tuscola County’s Wells Township.

“We have people here in Saginaw, Flint, Bay City and Tuscola County who don’t have jobs, and we’re bringing people who are going to undercut their wages,” Schlatter said.

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27 Responses to "Citizens assemble to voice opinions on housing Central American refugee children at Wolverine Human Services"

  1. dlentz says:

    Attention all Democrats, the new term for ‘illegal alien’ is ‘refugee’. Also, ‘global warming’ is now ‘climate change’. Thank you, and have a Merry holiday. INGSOC baby!

    Report this comment

    • thebigdr says:

      At least we can all be calm now that we’ve found out that the increase in ice in Antarctica and the Polar Bear population is because of climate change. OMG! I just checked my outside temperature and it dropped 1°. I’ve just experienced climate change. Call Algore. He is right!

      Report this comment

  2. thebigdr says:

    Apparently the article writer, and that does not mean reporter, has used Obama’s incorrect definition of refugee. “A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.”

    99.99% of illegal aliens walking across the border do not fit this definition. Therefore use of it in this article is utterly moronic.

    Report this comment

  3. KBFRANZ says:

    The title says “refugee children” but it should read “illegal teens”. I realize a teenager is still a minor, but there is a major difference between 12 to 17-year-olds and 2 to 8-year-olds. Not many 6 year olds are gang members, but unfortunately, there are many ms-13 members as young as 12 and 13, and even more between the ages of 14 and 17 (and the article says ” Most are males and older than 14″. Is there enough security at this facility? Should we be allowing potential gang members into Michigan neighborhoods? How are they being monitored? This bodes poorly.

    Report this comment

  4. BOUDICCA says:

    But wait.
    Isn’t Michigan a BLUE state?
    A compassionate state full of big hearted Libs?
    Why aren’t they embracing these helpless little pawns of Obama’s plan to overrun the system?

    Report this comment

    • UserNameAlreadyUsed says:

      Do you think everyone in the great state of Michigan is a lib? If you get away from the Detoilet area, very few are. Michigan has 82 counties, only 15 went for obama in 2012. Unfortunately, those were the most populated in S/E Michigan. Michigan is NOT Detroit contrary to popular belief.

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      • interurbaner says:

        If they send a bus, there will be the biggest turn out of patriotic counter protesters on site to block them we have ever seen in Michigan. There will be thousands that show up to support the people of Vassar. Bet on that.

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  5. zoey says:

    Why not turn the water off ,make the facility useless?

    Report this comment

    • interurbaner says:

      Zoey – Vassar is in the thumb of Michigan. The thumb of Michigan has many people that have a long history of not getting along with the Federal government. It is pure stupidity that they think that they can bus them into this area of Michigan. The buses will be met with thousands of counter protestors and if the leftist paid activists show up there will be plenty of news.

      Report this comment

  6. SnoMad700 says:

    Burn it down or blow it up. Just make it disappear.

    Report this comment

  7. Browns Fan42 says:

    Why send the illegals to Vasser? These “refugees” are fleeing violence, or so they say. Why not acclimated them slowly into the American culture by sendin them to Detroit or Chicago? After all, only 16 were killed an 82 were shot over the weekend in Chicago.

    Report this comment

  8. AlanRobbins says:

    120 Refugees = 115 jobs? Sounds like we are putting these kids in first class on a cruise ship.

    Flying them back to Central America first class would be cheaper.

    One would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to see that this is a manufactured crisis in the true spirit of Alinsky Community Organizing. Why do you think Obama was laughing at Rick Perry yesterday? He knows he has won, just look at story here, and the media coverage, and how these kids are “refugees”. They were driven here by a propaganda effort in their home country bought and paid for by the DNC, DUH.

    Report this comment

  9. Scott says:

    I feel sorry for the people who work their, if anyone has listened to the news, the amount of diseases these people are bringing into our country. And not to mention the gangs. Remember the people who already have health issues are at high risk. Is anyone testing these people before they are coming into the community, or is it just about money?? And who is supporting all these people. Last I knew Michigan isn’t very stable now. For the amount of people getting hired won’t even touch what the cost of these illegals. What is wrong with our government ????? Vote out the whole bunch and eliminate these gov. jobs. Now the epa is going after our farmers here. But its ok to bring in all the diseased illegals.

    Report this comment

  10. lendar begal says:

    I used to live in that town. They called it Camp Walkaway! If there are really gangbangers in the group dropped off they will be on their way to Flint and Detroit very soon.

    Report this comment

  11. MichiganMark says:

    Keep fighting! Our community can’t afford to take these people. We have American’s that need help!

    Our government has failed us! Brad Barrett and the City Council – Take Notice!

    Report this comment

  12. teabagmebaby says:

    Just want to express my heartfelt thanks to Senator Mike Green for supporting the efforts being made by Wolverine Services to bring economic growth to Vassar by housing Nicaraguan refugees. Support Senator Mike Green in November.

    Report this comment

  13. MacvTm18 says:

    Just put all the illegals in the vacant houses in Detroit !!!

    Report this comment

  14. rexspurtz says:

    Vassar parents, enjoy thousands of illegal aliens, some of them gang members, as they carry scabies, lice, diseases, drugs, and are not able to pronounce one word of English. By the way, did you find a job yet? You’re supposed to help these illegals get the job you couldn’t get. they’ll get it and you won’t because of the policies of your Poverty President.
    You’ll have your very own filthy and violent Renaissance Festival, right in your backyard! Love that Hopey Changey yet?

    Report this comment

  15. interurbaner says:

    Those illegals need to be sent back home instead of Vassar. Nobody in Michigan supports illegal immigration and nobody wants H1B immigrants taking our jobs either. The people of Vassar going to pass a city ordinance against housing illegals and I think the State of Michigan should pass a bill prohibiting the Feds from bringing illegals into Michigan. I applaud the people of Vassar standing up for America!

    Report this comment

  16. picomanning says:

    Michigan should praise Obama as Obama increases the roles of democrat voters! This is GOOD for unions! GOOD for promoting higher minimum wages! OK it might be disruptive for poor blacks and struggling Hispanics but years from now when the economy could be in real trouble, Obama’s social investment in future voters will be really great! There is an unlimited supply of future democrat voters in central and south America! Progresses NEED future votes to ensure a more democratic America! We NEED to spread the wealth! America has proven that we can print the money we need to continue to work our Progressive magic! Why would anyone want to hurt people who are just trying to improve their lives? Open the borders! Let these poor, oppressed children come to our open arms!

    Report this comment

  17. OutofDenial says:

    “McCree said the youths housed in Vassar will be males from ages 12 to 17. Wolverine will “provide medical care, feed them, teach them some survival skills and do trauma counseling” until federal officials can place the children with family members in the U.S., McCree said.”

    “Teach them survival skills”?! That’s rich. They just navigated through several undeveloped, gang-infested countries to arrive to the U.S. where they are being cared for. Their basic needs are met with food, facilities, underpants, health care, and the like; their wants are met with monopoly games, soccer balls and trips around the country. They don’t have to follow the laws (and return home) or pay for these products and services (health care!). Many will be able to connect up to their homies in this country and help them terrorize more American citizens. (Those work like army ants to destroy property and lives. Seemingly walking around innocently — yes, even the girls, and ladies with their strollers, casing the area, gathering intel to take back to the nest.) They have the survival skills that we can only dream of.

    WE are the ones who lack a sense of self-preservation and the courage to protect ourselves. We need to learn to protect ourselves, our community, our culture, our future, and our language. We need to have a positive sense of self and deserve it. Then we will put hard-working, enforcer types in office — not “nice guys and gals”.

    No unearned guilt.
    We have the right to survive and prosper.

    Report this comment

  18. teabagmebaby says:

    On Friday, Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder emphatically supported comprehensive immigration reform and implied that enforcement of the current immigration laws were “dumb” at an event with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
    “We need comprehensive immigration reform,” Snyder said at an immigration summit on Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “That’s the bottom line. To be blunt, we have a dumb system.”
    Snyder also pushed for various amnesty provisions that the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers.
    “The real question is, let’s get them in legalized status and then you resolve that question,” Snyder said. “And then the question of citizenship is more a question of differing views on how many steps or what stages you go through. That’s something that [lawmakers] should just be able to work through.”
    Snyder has also recently called for the federal government to award work visas to highly-skilled immigrants if they commit to working in Detroit.

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