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immigration

The Salvation Army is a crucial resource for many people all year round. It provides housing assistance, food assistance, utility assistance and all kinds of other help to people in need.

And around the holidays, that effort ramps up with Christmas assistance.

Alyse & Remi / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Following the election of Donald Trump, many Mexican-Americans are worried about how the president-elect’s proposed immigration overhaul, if implemented, might affect them.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

A year after he called for a “pause” in resettling refugees from the Middle East, Governor Snyder says he’s watching and waiting to see what Donald Trump will do with immigration policy.

That includes the president-elect’s promise to cut funding to sanctuary cities. Michigan has at least two cities – Detroit and Ann Arbor – that have policies to harbor immigrations regardless of their visa status.

screen grab from 60 Minutes / CBS News

Over the last week since Donald Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 Presidential Election, there have been an increase in the number of reports of harassment and bullying directed at students of color and religious minorities.

Speaking to Lesley Stahl last night on CBS' 60 Minutes, President-elect Donald Trump addressed the recent incidents.

Trump said he was "saddened" by the news and implored people to "stop it".

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Detroit's immigrant population is on the rise once again.

After taking a dip between 2000 and 2010, the number of immigrants in the city has grown more than 12% since then, according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by the non-profit group Global Detroit.

That accounts for more than 4,000 new Detroiters, says Global Detroit Executive Director Steve Tobocman.

“That is a major turnaround, and hopefully it’s a bellwether for the stabilization of neighborhoods in the city of Detroit,” Tobocman said.

DOJ

The U.S. Justice Department has charged two people in Detroit with taking bribes in order to defer the deportations of immigrants. 

The government says Detroit attorney Charles Busse took bribes from Iraqi, Mexican, and Albanian immigrants facing deportation, and then paid bribes to Clifton Divers, a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The scheme had Divers claiming the clients were confidential government informants in order to get the deportations deferred. 

The crimes allegedly took place between 2009 and 2015.

"Stop separating families" banner
Michigan United

More immigrants in Michigan want to become U.S. citizens, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

According to the USCIS, the state saw an 11% boost in the number of citizenship applications for immigrants in the third quarter, compared to the same period last year -- to 4,178 applications.

Nationally, there has been a 32% increase in citizenship applications since this time last year.

A Kurdish boy from the Syrian town of Kobani holds onto a fence that surrounds a refugee camp in Turkey.
User Jordi Bernabeu Farrús / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Robin Wright began her journalism career as a student at the University of Michigan, where she was the first female sports editor in the history of the Michigan Daily.

She has gone on to become a widely known and honored foreign affairs analyst, journalist and author. Her books include Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam and The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran.

This coming Thursday, Wright returns to Ann Arbor to give the Margaret Waterman Alumnae Lecture. She joined us today.

A Nation Engaged: Apology to My Father

Oct 10, 2016
Sakila Islam
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Throughout this election season, NPR and its member stations have been having a national conversation called "A Nation Engaged." The project has looked at central themes in this year's election, including this week's question:

What does it actually mean to be American?

We put this question to some promising young spoken word artists, and we'll be sharing their poems with you all week. 

Simon Blackley/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

A child's first day of school can be both an exciting and stressful time for a parent, especially for those who are starting out in a new country. The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) has created a program to help immigrants adapt to their new community and prepare their children for school.

United States Department of Education / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As Michigan kids get settled into this new school year, there's one group that can use some extra support: children who are immigrants or refugees.

Syrian refugee children in Jordan enjoy a concert.
CGFome MRE

A statewide conference on making Michigan a hospitable place for immigrants was held in Lansing Monday. It’s part of the nationwide Welcoming Week, which seeks to bring together immigrants and U.S. born people in “a spirit of unity.”

This was the third annual statewide Welcoming Michigan conference. It brought together nonprofits, local government leaders, students and others to share tips and strategies for making Michigan communities more welcoming to immigrants.

Susana Bernabé-Ramirez and her daughter Sayra Hernandez
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The news came in today that Susana Bernabé-Ramirez and her 16-year-old daughter Sayra Hernandez have been deported. That leaves 11-year-old, American-born Isabella Hernandez here in the United States. This creates an even bigger challenge for the family, because Isabella has epilepsy and needs the medical care that she is receiving here in Michigan.
 

We spoke with Bernabé-Ramirez and Sayra in April as they awaited a stay of removal from the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Their attorney Brad Thompson joined us to talk about this development.

So often we hear people say, "Our immigration system is broken." But what exactly does that mean? 

In this State of Opportunity special, we hear answers to that question from various angles.

Neal Herbert / flickr

Immigrants make Michigan's economy stronger and they should be welcomed, not feared.

That's the take-home from the Partnership for a New Economy, a bi-partisan group that supports federal immigration reform. 

The group’s recent study estimates nearly 642,000 Michigan residents were born abroad, and in 2014, they earned $19.6 billion, and paid $5.4 billion in local, state, and federal taxes.

Karen Phillippi is with the Michigan Office for New Americans. 

A new report from Global Detroit emphasizes the importance of keeping international student graduates for Michigan’s economy.
Flickr user University of Michigan's Ford School/Flickr

Michigan’s economy should stop wasting the brainpower it already has by retaining more international students, a new report says.

Steve Tobocman is the director of Global Detroit, a non-profit that studies what makes Michigan attractive to international populations. He told Stateside that their research fights a widespread belief.

A refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos
Razi Jafri

More Syrian refugees have come to Michigan seeking a new life than any other state.

The State Department reports that 505 Syrian refugees settled in our state between May 2011 and May 2016. And more are on the way.

Maan, Bayan, and their three children arrived in Dearborn in April. The family does not want their names or faces revealed because they fear any media attention could endanger their relatives still in Syria.
Joe Linstroth / Michigan Radio

Among the hundreds of Syrians who fled their homeland for Michigan is a young family of five.

They came here just this past April, trading the violence and death in Homs for a sparsely furnished, rented corner duplex in a modest neighborhood in Dearborn.

We'll be bringing you the story of this young family on Stateside over the coming months as they settle into their new life in Michigan.

Mexican and U.S. flags
Flickr user Ken Bosma

Throughout this year's presidential campaigns, there's been a lot of talk about immigration in this country. We've heard proposals ranging from reform that would be a roadmap to citizenship, to building a wall between the United States and Mexico.

We've had immigration arguments for a long time, about as long as the U.S. has been a country, and these debates always escalate when the economy takes a downturn. 

When there are labor shortages, we turn to Mexico and encourage immigration. But the moment the economy tanks, we want to send those workers packing back to Mexico. 

Susana Bernabé-Ramirez and her daughter Sayra Hernandez
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Update 5:20 p.m.

Attorney Brad Thomson said the stay of removal was granted so the family can remain together until a decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals is made on the motion to reopen their case.

Patrick McKay / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments today on President Obama's executive actions on immigration.

The case could affect thousands of immigrants in Michigan. And some immigrant rights activists made the trip to Washington to make sure their voices are heard.

"Sometimes we just stand on the sidelines,” said Jacqueline Lopez, a student at Grand Rapids Community College, as she was about to board a DC-bound bus. “And this is just a way to be out there and stand with our community."

user GPDII / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


It began with a concern raised by some Michigan companies: Some foreign visitors can’t drive with their foreign driver’s licenses, particularly those from China.

Could something be done in Lansing to clear the way for a Chinese executive visiting, say, Dow Chemical, to drive on his or her own?

The result was Senate Bill 501.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some metro Detroit families and faith leaders are headed to the U.S. Supreme Court next month, to take part in a national rally supporting President Obama’s immigration policy.

The Court is set to hear arguments on the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) plan, which Obama created via a 2014 executive order.

It would protect many undocumented immigrants with U.S. citizen children from deportation.

Frances Kellor reading on a dock
Harvard University, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

As our nation continues to lay entrenched in the immigration debate, it might do us well to remember the life and work of a woman from Coldwater.

Frances Kellor rose from very humble roots in Michigan to become a nationally respected reformer. She worked in prison reform and for women’s issues, championed the cause of immigrants, rural and African American workers, and challenged the country to think about what it really meant to be an American.

Ruth Bengtsen (center), the facilitator of "Talk Time" at the Troy Public Library, sits with some participants of the program.
Photo courtesy of the Troy Public Library

Immigrating to the United States is not easy. Luckily for those who are making a new life in Southeast Michigan and are trying to learn the often difficult language of English, “Talk Time” is available every Saturday morning at the Troy Public Library.

“It’s just a matter of making them feel comfortable here,” says Ruth Bengtsen, a volunteer tutor at Talk Time. “I tell them if they can communicate with whatever words, to do so. Not worry about the grammar and being correct all the time.”

Michigan café owner's deportation fight simmers

Jan 19, 2016
Ibrahim Parlak at his cafe in Harbert, Michigan
Gabrielle Emanuel / Michigan Radio

On Wednesday, Congressman Fred Upton will meet with a man whom the U.S. government has been trying to deport for over a decade.

Some say Ibrahim Parlak is a terrorist.  Others say he’s a model immigrant.

Parlak runs a popular café in Harbert, a resort town in Southwest Michigan. On the day I visited, it was quiet and all the chairs were tucked in.

Parlak temporarily closed Café Gulistan because he says he needs to focus on fighting deportation.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A growing number of Michigan cities are opening their doors to immigrants, despite a national debate over allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S.

Lansing city officials today signed a pledge making the capitol one of nearly a dozen Michigan cities pledging to welcome immigrants.

Mayor Virg Bernero laments the current national debate over Syrian refugees is creating negative feelings about immigration.

The federally-created Council of Governors has a meeting scheduled for tomorrow. This is the group of 10 governors (always five Republicans and five Democrats) that gives the federal government the states’ perspectives on national security issues.

This is also the group that Governor Snyder said he wanted to conduct a review of federal security policies after the self-proclaimed most pro-immigration governor called for a “pause” in resettling refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries after last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Egypt.

Michigan governor puts refugee acceptance efforts on hold

Nov 15, 2015
Google

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan's Republican governor, who has bucked many party leaders for welcoming Syrian refugees, is putting efforts on hold following the deadly attacks in Paris.

Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement Sunday that the state is postponing efforts to accept refugees until federal officials fully review security clearances and procedures.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder paid a visit to Hamtramck’s BanglaTown Friday, to officially open the Bangladeshi American Public Affairs Committee’s new headquarters there.

That Bangladeshi community is aiming for a higher profile among Metro Detroit’s immigrant enclaves.

Snyder again proclaimed himself “the most pro-immigrant Governor in the country.” And he says Bangladeshi-Americans are exactly the kind of immigrants Michigan needs.

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