EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 2, 2024 — State Rep. Phil Skaggs (D-East Grand Rapids) issued the following statement in light of recent events surrounding immigration concerns and political divisiveness in Kent County:

“West Michigan is known throughout the country as a place that welcomes newcomers fleeing war and oppression or simply looking to build a better life for their families. From the first peoples to the early settlers, to Dutch and Polish immigrants, African-Americans fleeing the Jim Crow South, migrants from Mexico, Bosnia, Bhutan, Myanmar, Vietnam and Congo, and, most recently, refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine — we have always had a heart to care for strangers and welcome them into our community.

“I know America. America is a country built on immigration and respect for the rights and dignities of each other. The time has come to listen to our better angels and welcome those yearning to breathe free. We must condemn and reject those who seek to take advantage of terrible individual tragedies to pit communities against one another and dehumanize our neighbors. Hate should have no home here in Michigan nor anywhere in America.”