Mid-Michigan City Paves the Way for Accommodation for US Border Teens | Michigan News

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ALMA, Mich. (AP) – Officials in a central Michigan city granted a request to accommodate migrant boys in a former nursing home, rejecting the planning commission’s recommendation and angering opponents who had criticized the proposal in tense summer meetings.

The City of Alma Commission voted, 4-2, Tuesday night to approve a zoning change requested by Bethany Christian Services.

“We believe Alma is a caring and welcoming community, and we look forward to providing vital services to vulnerable children and youth here,” said Krista Stevens of Bethany, based in Grand Rapids.

Bethany wishes to use a former retirement home to provide accommodation for up to 40 days or until a sponsor is found. The boys, aged 12 to 17, crossed the US border without parents or guardians and have no legal status in this country.

Alma, with a population of 9,400, is 80 km north of Lansing and is probably best known for housing a small liberal arts school, Alma College.

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The Alma Planning Commission recommended that the zoning change be rejected. Members said opposition in the community made it difficult to determine whether certain conditions could be met to justify rezoning.

The State Department of Civil Rights warned Alma against making decisions based on fears, stereotypes and “unfounded assumptions.”

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