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immigration

Courtesy of Farah Al-khersan

Across the country, immigration lawyers flocked to airports and border crossings this weekend to help travelers stranded by President Trump’s executive order.

Not all of them, however, were able to offer their services.

Farah Al-khersan, an immigration attorney of West Bloomfield, was blocked from re-entering the United States when she and her husband tried to cross back over from Sarnia Friday night.

Protesters and police inside Detroit Metro Airport.
Courtesy of Carey Swanson

President Trump continues to defend his immigration order that clamps a temporary ban on U.S. entry for travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations, and refugees from around the world. And he continues to insist it "is not a Muslim ban."

Despite the nationwide protests, the confusion and the mounting questions, Trump said "all is going well."

Lawyers who spent long hours trying to help travelers blindsided by the president's action beg to differ.

Jamil Khuja is one of those attorneys. He went to Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) to help an Iranian green card holder who had been blocked from re-entering the country.

A boy in a refugee camp in Turkey.
United Nations Development Programme / Flickr

An Iraqi man planned to come join his wife and child in Michigan later this year. They’d been issued special visas because of his wife’s work as an interpreter for the U.S. military in Iraq. But when word started getting out last week about a looming crackdown on immigration, he changed his plans. By Wednesday, he was doing everything he could to get out of Iraq immediately.

Yesterday I was talking to State Senator David Knezek of Dearborn Heights about a tax bill, when I decided to ask him what he thought of the president’s sudden order barring entry to this country from seven Muslim nations.

I would normally never ask a first-term state senator to comment on a foreign policy initiative by the president of the United States. But these are not normal times, and Dave Knezek is not just another state senator. He served two tours of duty in Iraq.

Thousands of protesters gathered yesterday at Detroit Metro Airport and in Dearborn, Hamtramck, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor to demonstrate against President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries.

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Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Chanting slogans like “No ban, no wall!” and “Refugees are welcome here,” thousands of protesters jammed parts of Detroit Metro Airport Sunday evening.

It was yet another demonstration against President Trump’s executive order that bars arrivals of immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Caleb Pluta

Governor Rick Snyder says enforcing immigration laws is not a top priority of state and local police in Michigan. That’s after President Donald Trump signed executive orders to curtail immigration from majority Muslim countries, and targeting immigrants in the country illegally.

“I don’t see that as one of their primary functions. We’re actually doing very well bringing violent crime down within the state of Michigan,” he said. “I appreciate the great work of the State Police and or local partners, and we’re going to continue to work hard on making Michigan a safer place.”

Detroit councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez speaking at Michigan United press conference about ongoing immigration issues.
Mateus Defaria / Michigan Radio

Donald Trump's recent executive orders have people in some immigrant communities in Detroit worried.

Detroit has a large immigrant population, but President Trump's executive order to crack down on undocumented immigration means some families and communities could be separated.

Trump’s executive orders will increase efforts to deport undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the country’s southern border. He also wants to cut federal funding to so-called "sanctuary cities" for immigrants.

Nobody knows exactly what our new president will do, or will be able to do. He hasn’t always been consistent, and much of what he wants would have to get through Congress.

But one of the things he has been fairly consistent about is immigration. He is still promising to build a wall, and has said he wants to force every undocumented person to leave.

Lopez: "[Immigration] raids affect all sorts of relationships. Relationships between individuals, between family members, between Latino communities and white communities, and also between immigrant and Latino communities and local police departments."
J J / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As he campaigned for the presidency, one of Donald Trump's most consistent messages was aimed at undocumented immigrants. At one point, he promised a deportation force to remove all undocumented immigrants.

That message helped get him elected.

It remains to be seen what will actually come to pass once Mr. Trump takes office in two weeks, but the increased possibility of immigration raids is out there.

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center / via Facebook

A $50,000 grant will boost an effort to welcome immigrants in some Michigan communities.

The Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan awarded the money to the Welcoming Michigan initiative.

Welcoming Michigan fosters connections between new immigrants and longtime residents, helping to integrate them fully into receiving communities. The program also helps local governments and groups serve immigrant communities.

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 formed a workgroup that made 69 recommendations on how the state of Michigan should manage and improve its mental health care system. The question is, how many of those recommendations will be turned into actual policies?
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. 

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