immigration

Sarah Alvarez

In honor of July 4th, we asked immigrants across Michigan what America means to them. Abdo Najy shared his story.

Abdo Najy has just recently completed his PhD and hopes to run his own lab soon. He's friendly, smiles a lot, and is animated when he talks about his research on breast and prostate cancer. 

Najy is modest and measured, but he knows he has a role in the search for a cure to cancer. He views his work as a scientist as his way to repay this country for educational opportunities he would not have had in his native Yemen. 

Born in Yemen in the 1980’s in the midst of a polio outbreak, Najy contracted the disease when he was just six months old.

Do you trust your government? What about your government? Do your elected leaders trust you?

Disapproval rates of Congress are at all-time lows - gridlock, and indecision. Can we change the dynamic, and what does it mean going forward?

And census results show a surprising trend: the state's male population is growing. We took a look at what's behind the numbers.

Also we spoke with Michael Narlock, head of Astronomy at the Cranbrook Institute of Science, about the best places to go in Michigan for stargazing this summer.

And Darrin Camilleri, President of the Michigan Federation of College Democrats, joined us to talk about increasing tuition and raised interested rates for student loans.

Also we continued our week-long series of stories from immigrants about what America means to them.

Today we heard from Linda Steinke, whose family came to the U.S. from Iran in the 1970s when her father had the opportunity to work in the auto industry.

First on the show, the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has filed language with the Secretary of State to put another petition on the 2014 ballot. The group wants to ban wolf hunting in Michigan.

If the language is approved, the group will try and collect more than 160 thousand signatures to put the question to voters.

Rick Pluta, the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network joined us today.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

In honor of July 4th, we asked immigrants across Michigan what America means to them. Linda Steinke shared her story with us.

Her family came to the U.S. from Iran in the 1970s when her father had the opportunity to work in the auto industry.

Steinke is petite, with striking, honey-brown eyes. And these days she works as interpreter at medical appointments.

"I not only interpret the language, but I interpret the culture," Steinke explains.

Christian Haugen / Flickr

In honor of July 4th, we asked immigrants across Michigan what America means to them. A young woman from Mexico shared her story with us.


For some, the journey of getting to America can be just as challenging as starting a new life in the country.

“We walked here, basically,” a young woman from Mexico told us. “My mom brought me and my brother here when I was eight.”

“We crossed the border... and we just walked for hours and hours.”

Today, the 17-year-old lives at the Salvation Army’s Teen Parent Center in Grand Rapids.The Salvation Army asked us not to use her name, or the name of her one-year-old son.

bbmcshane / flickr

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit judge says a lawsuit can go forward against federal authorities accused of violating the rights of Muslims at U.S.-Canada border crossings.

Federal Judge Avern Cohn says he's not ruling yet on the merits of the case. But he denied a request by the government to dismiss it Tuesday.

Some Detroit-area Muslims sued last year, saying they've been held at gunpoint, handcuffed and repeatedly questioned about their religion when returning to the U.S. from Canada. Some have given up on crossing the border.

Cohn says the government might come up with valid reasons for pulling Muslims aside for additional questions at the border. But he says that's not the key issue at this stage of the litigation.

cncphotos / flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Kyle Norris discuss Medicaid expansion in Michigan, immigration reform and how it could affect struggling Michigan cities, and the race for Senator Carl Levin’s seat in the U.S. Senate.

dreamactivist.org

It is extremely rare to have someone actually seek out a situation that would end with an arrest and a trip to jail.

But Claudia Munoz did exactly that. She got herself seized as an undocumented immigrant at the Ambassador Bridge in order to see first-hand what things are like at the immigration detention center in Calhoun County near Battle Creek.

Claudia is part of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, an activist group based in Washington. Their mission is to highlight immigration cases and pressure authorities to take a fresh look at their detention and deportation practices.

Claudia Munoz joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

It's not often that people actively seek out a situation that ends up putting them in jail, but on today's show, we spoke with one woman who did exactly that in order to put a spotlight on undocumented immigrants.

And, communities all across the state are spending money to become more bike-friendly. We found out why they think this will help reverse Michigan's brain-drain.

Also, three Michigan filmmakers switched gears from movies to music, and this weekend they are hosting a big outdoor music festival in Clare County.  

First on the show, Michigan will get $100 million from the federal government to tear down thousands of vacant houses and clean up struggling neighborhoods.

The money will be used in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Saginaw.

Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee has been pushing hard for this funding. He joined us today from Flint.

On Thursday, June 6th, Global Detroit is hosting the Global Great Lakes Network Convening in Detroit. Jennifer White speaks today with Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit about how the organization works to strengthen the economy of southeast Michigan through projects that connect immigrants to the global economy.

The Great Lakes Network Convening in Detroit will bring together leaders from similar organizations across the Rust Belt to share best practices, and collaborate on how to once again make the Midwest an economic powerhouse.

“The most important thing is that we create a welcoming environment; letting the world’s talent, investment, and trade know that Michigan and its cities are open for business,” says Tobocman.

“We want to compete, and we want the world’s most talented employees and entrepreneurs.”

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush did a number of things on Mackinac Island yesterday. He managed to completely pack the Grand Hotel’s auditorium as the first major speaker of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual conference.

He made some connections for what could be—could be—a run for the presidency three years from now. He gave intelligent and well-thought out perspectives on education and immigration reform.

But he also illustrated the huge dilemma facing today’s Republican Party, especially on immigration. Bush artfully sketched out the outlines of a policy that would actively encourage more immigrants, especially those who are well-educated and have needed skills. He would take us from a policy where most immigration is done for family reunification to one based on our nation’s economic priorities. That would seem to make a lot of sense.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new report by Michigan United and the Center for American Progress says that legalizing undocumented workers could give Michigan a significant economic boost.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

A demonstration took place this afternoon in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Detroit.

Protestors gathered at 12:30 p.m. today asking for the release of Michael Mendy, a gay Senegalese artist who has lived in the U.S. for nearly 15 years. Michigan Radio's Kate Wells went to the demonstration and will bring us an update.

She shot this video:

The U.S. appears to be on the verge of the biggest immigration changes in a generation. Legislation being debated in Congress would allow many immigrants who are now here illegally an eventual path to citizenship.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State officials are weighing in on the immigration debate. Democrats in the state House Tuesday introduced a package of bills to change the way the Michigan treats immigrants.

Under the legislation, the state would offer in-state college tuition to some undocumented students. It would also create an office to coordinate resources and services for people hoping to become U-S citizens.

Representative Jeff Irwin says the legislation includes language he thinks Republican leaders in Lansing could support.

cncphotos / flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss the issue of dredging in Michigan’s harbors, a package of bills that would make Michigan a more immigrant-friendly state, and how lawmakers have backed off from punishing colleges and municipalities for negotiating contracts before the right to work law went into effect.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

House Republicans won't push right-to-work penalties
 
"State House Republicans have given up on efforts to punish school districts and other public employers that agreed to labor contracts that delayed the effects of Michigan’s right-to-work law. The House GOP majority allowed budget bills to move forward without threatened reductions in state payments," Rick Pluta reports.

Democrats introduce legislation for immigration reform

"Yesterday, state House Democrats introduced a package of bills they say would make Michigan a more immigrant-friendly state. Among other things, the legislation would provide in-state college tuition for some undocumented students and create an office to coordinate services and resources for immigrants," according to Jake Neher.

Lawmakers move forward in passing state budget

"The Republican-controlled House today is planning to approve its entire spending plan for state government along with schools and colleges. The GOP-led Senate is expected to OK about half of its budget plant, and follow with the rest later. The moves will set the stage for negotiations in May with a goal of finishing up by June," the Associated Press reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the possible plan to lower auto insurance rates in the state, a bill to require drug tests for welfare recipients, and the arrests made at the University of Michigan over immigration protests.

On today's show: we continue our look at road-funding Michigan.

There's a new proposal out this week in the state House that would shift the way we pay for road and bridge repairs, but can it really pass with both Democratic and Republican support?

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The so-called gang of eight have released their immigration reform proposal.

The formal introduction of the bipartisan bill  known as the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” was filed last night at 2 a.m.

The 844 piece of legislation would enact sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration laws.

President Obama says the bill is a compromise that doesn’t give everyone everything they want, but he’s urging the Senate to move forward with it.

So we took a look at the man who likes to call himself the nation’s most pro-immigration Governor - Gov. Rick Snyder.

Rick Pluta Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network was with the Governor this afternoon and tells us what he had to say about the introduction of this bill.

Listen to the full interview above.

Millions of undocumented immigrants in this country are hoping this is the year for immigration reform. On today's show, we explore what the future holds for mixed-status families.

And, it's being called "one of the most dramatic ecological recovery stories in North America." Why beavers along the Detroit River are such a big deal.

And, it’s been a week now since Governor Snyder announced Kevyn Orr as Detroit’s emergency manager, and it was a week ago that we last spoke with Daniel Howes, business columnist at the Detroit News. We checked in with Howes about the prospect of a Detroit recovery.

All that, and roller derbies and march madness, on today's show.

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