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travel ban

Peter Heshey / Unsplash

The United Nations created World Refugee Day in 2000 as a way to recognize the struggles refugees face in their journeys to safety. 

Michigan is no stranger to welcoming refugees. In fact, the state took in the fourth highest number of refugees in the United States last year, with over 4000 people resettled in the state.

American flag fluttering against a blue sky
Corey Seeman/Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Ali Warsame's journey to become a permanent, legal resident of Michigan was long and difficult.

He fled the war in his homeland of Somalia, which is one of the six majority-Muslim countries included in President Trump's revised travel ban. Before eventually reaching Grand Rapids, he passed through Ethiopia, Russia, Ukraine and Europe.

He was a teenager when he left Somalia. He told Stateside that one of the reasons he had to leave was that he felt pressure from terrorist groups, which were recruiting young people to join them.

The non-profit agency Samaritas is the largest resettler of refugees in Michigan.
Courtesy of Samaritas

The number of refugees re-settled in Michigan has dropped sharply over the past six months.

That parallels a larger national trend, according to new analysis of U.S. State Department data from the Pew Research Center.

Pew examined refugee resettlement data from October 2016 through April of this year.

Karn Bulsuk / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A state of limbo is about to lift for hundreds of Iraqis in the United States. The government tried to deport them after they committed crimes, but Iraq wouldn’t take them back.

Now some of them are headed home – and, quite possibly, into danger.

Trump administration strikes a deal with Iraq

As part of the negotiations surrounding the most recent Trump executive order on immigration, Iraq came off the list of countries whose citizens are barred from entering the U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, with Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, discuss Kelly's visit near Detroit's Ambassador Bridge.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A handful of people representing some of Metro Detroit’s immigrant and religious communities met privately with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly Monday.

That was one reason for Kelly’s brief visit to Detroit, which also included talk on security and infrastructure along the country’s northern border.

Kelly held small, private meetings with hand-picked members of the Arab, Muslim, and Latino communities. The idea was to air concerns about the Trump Administration’s immigration policies.

Western Michigan University's Main Campus
user TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons

A new survey has found that fewer international students are applying to universities in the United States.

The survey by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers says that nearly 40% of schools received fewer admissions from foreign students this year.

And lower international enrollment rates could harm universities in Michigan.

ACLU sign
Slightly North / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump and federal agencies are being sued in Detroit over his revised ban on travel to the U.S. by people from six predominantly Muslim countries.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Arab-American Civil Rights League. The plaintiffs include nine people whose family members can't travel to the U.S.

michigan state university sign
Branislav Ondrasik / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Around 700 faculty and staff members at Michigan State University say they will not help immigration officials that attempt to apprehend, deport, or determine the immigration status of students.

Staff members have been signing a "Statement of Solidarity," which promises to support students that want to remain in the US.

Protesters against the initial travel ban at Detroit Metro Airport, Jan. 30.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan civil rights groups say they’re ready pick up a lawsuit filed against President Trump’s first travel ban.

The Michigan ACLU and the Arab-American Civil Rights League sued in federal court to overturn Trump’s first executive order. The groups now say they’ll amend that lawsuit to fight the new order issued Monday.

Trump’s new executive order targets migrants from six majority-Muslim countries, not seven — Iraq is now off the list. It also exempts permanent U.S. residents and people with valid pre-existing visas.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Congressman Bill Huizenga held a town hall meeting today north of Grand Rapids that last more than four hours, a bit longer than he anticipated.

“And that’s okay,” he said. “What I knew was going to happen was, after two hours or even three hours if I had said ‘OK, you know maybe we’ve had enough,’ there would be all these calls of, you know, ‘He shut it down early!'”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Islamic Center held a meeting tonight to go over what the Trump administration’s immigration policies could mean for Muslim families in Michigan.

Trump had said his administration would unveil the new order this week, but a White House official says that has been delayed until next week.

The original order temporarily banning all entry into the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority nations and pausing the entire U.S. refugee program was blocked in the courts. The directive sparked confusion at airports and protests across the country.

Andrey Belenko / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal appeals panel in the 9th U.S. Circuit has upheld a lower court’s ruling against an executive order by President Donald Trump. That order temporarily banned people of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The three-judge panel suggested the executive order did nothing to make the nation safer, and that the Trump administration didn’t present any evidence that people from the seven countries were a threat to the U.S.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan, joined Stateside to talk about the ruling it's effect on the Muslim community.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers
Kit Johnson / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There is another executive order on immigration issued by President Donald Trump, beyond the travel ban of seven majority-Muslim countries.

This executive order gave U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) broader discretion to arrest undocumented immigrants. The result has been a quick uptick in arrests, more people in detention centers, and an immigrant community that is more fearful of being deported.

COURTESY OF SAMARITAS

Travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries are enjoying tearful reunions with loved ones across the United States and the state of Michigan. This after a federal judge ruled against President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban.

Airlines around the world allowed people to board flights as usual to the United States.

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

A federal judge in Detroit has struck down a portion of President Trump’s temporary ban on some immigrants, but it only applies to some of those affected by the ban.

Judge Victoria Roberts’ permanent injunction only applies to “lawful permanent residents”—greencard holders—from the seven countries named in Mr. Trump’s executive order.

(Read the injunction here.)

The non-profit agency Samaritas is the largest resettler of refugees in Michigan.
Courtesy of Samaritas

The White House continues to insist that the President's executive orders on immigrants and refugees will make America safer.

The West Michigan group Samaritas begs to differ.

kids going to a school bus
Leslie Science and Nature Center / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Trump Administration's move to change immigration and travel policies for seven predominantly Muslim countries prompted Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift to contact the parents in her district.

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.

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.