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immigration

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A small crowd rallied in front of Detroit’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on Friday, calling on the agency to release Banny Doumbia.

Doumbia is an Ivory Coast native and Detroit father who has been in the U.S. for nearly 30 years. His family says he was detained without explanation after a routine ICE check-in last week.

quilt from project
Courtesy of Migrant Quilt Project

An Arizona quiltmaker is exploring one of the most contentious issues in the U.S. today: immigration.

Her traveling exhibition, “Beyond the Border Wall: The Migrant Quilt Project,” will open next week in Grand Haven’s Loutit District Library. 

Michigan Main Street Center

A report out Thursday morning from the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) finds that while immigrant make up only 6% of Michigan’s population, they make up 20% of the state’s so-called Main Street businesses.

Victoria Crouse, a State Policy Fellow for the MLPP, authored the report. She obtained most of her data from the American Community Survey’s 5-year data from 2016.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The U.S. government is scrambling to meet Thursday's court-ordered deadline to reunite hundreds of children who were separated at the border with their parents.

About half of those families have been reunited.

picture of the sign outside U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Wikimedia / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


As the nation's attention has focused on ICE and its role in the Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy, another immigration agency has quietly been making drastic changes to its mission and policies. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a federal agency traditionally charged with managing benefits and services for immigrants to the U.S. 

In February, USCIS published a new mission statement, considerably shifting the direction of their organization. 

Rabbi Josh Whinston
Kathryn Condon / Michigan Radio

  

The plight of migrant children being separated from their families at detention centers has grabbed the attention of many across the country. The first reunification deadline to reunite children under five with their families was Tuesday.

From this crisis many grassroots groups have sprung up, as parents, teachers, foster parents, and religious leaders search for ways to help migrant families who were separated.

Ever Reyes Mejia and his 3 year old son leaving the ICE office in Grand Rapids.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Three parents were able to finally see their children again today in Grand Rapids.

It had been three months since these dads seeking asylum in the U.S. were separated from their children. All of whom are under five years old.

Protestors standing by podium
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Several people in Grand Rapids protested the separation of children from their parents today.

About 150 protestors stood outside Bethany Christian Services to speak out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In April Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy on undocumented immigrants, which caused refugee families to be split up at the country’s southern border. President Trump this week announced he'd reverse the policy, and a federal judge ordered a halt to separations -- and the reunification of families that have been separated.

 

Judge's gavel with books on a desk
Pixabay.com

President Trump's executive order ending family separations at the southern border, but leaving in place the zero-tolerance policy, did nothing to quell the national anger and confusion.

Trump's order did not address what happens for some 2,300 children who have already been taken from their parents after crossing the border. Those children are currently in shelters and foster care across the country, inlcuding here in Michigan.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office was shut down for a brief time Monday morning, as activists protesting U.S. immigration policies blocked driveways outside the ICE office.

It's part of a larger protest that aims to "occupy" Detroit ICE headquarters this week.

dona abbott
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

 

This April, the Trump Administration announced its “zero-tolerance policy” for immigration. It requires every person caught crossing the United State’s southern border be prosecuted in federal criminal court. Since it is against U.S. law for a child to be housed with a parent in a federal prison, children are being separated from the parents who brought them across the border.

Rachel and Adam / Bethany Christian Services

 


Young children separated from their families at the border cannot be held in immigration detention centers for more than three days. After 72 hours, the Office of Refugee Resettlement looks to find a shelter or foster care home for the child.  

 

Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron
Courtesy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit

 


The Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border has generated criticism and condemnation.

The so-called "zero tolerance" policy resulted in the separation of 1,995 children from their families during the six-week period between April 16 and May 31. That number is now estimated to be well over 2,000 children. 

This weekend, current first lady Melania Trump as well as all living former first ladies — both Republican and Democrat — spoke out against the policy. 

Christian leaders across denominations have also publicly condemned the measure. 

The border crossing at Lukeville, Arizona.
Flickr user Alan Levine

Some members of Michigan's Republican Congressional delegation have issued strong or tepid statements against the Trump Administration's policy on separating families at the border. 

Detainees being housed inside fenced rooms at a government facility.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

The Trump administration's zero-tolerance border policy has meant some 2,000 migrant children have been taken away from their families.

Families Belong Together protest in Columbus, Ohio.
Flickr user Becker1999

The Trump administration has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy toward anyone caught crossing the United States border. As a result, in the past six weeks alone, over 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and put in government custody or foster care.

Ded and Flora Rranxburgaj's younger son, Eric, speaks on his father's behalf outside ICE offices in Detroit Wednesday.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group of immigrant advocates are walking from Detroit to Lansing to bring attention to deportations that separate families, including an Albanian man seeking sanctuary in a Detroit church.

The 90-mile journey started Monday at Central United Methodist Church in Detroit, where 48-year-old Ded Rranxburgaj has taken refuge since January. Rranxburgaj is facing an order for removal after his legal status expired. His wife has multiple sclerosis and depends on his care.

matthileo / Flickr

Activists from across the state shut down streets in Lansing Monday. The Michigan Poor People’s Campaign launched at the state Capitol.

The campaign wants a massive overhaul of voting rights laws, new programs to get people out of poverty, and measures to boost the economy in favor of working people.

Jerry Goldberg is with a coalition to stop foreclosures, which is part of the campaign. He said all the struggles they’re fighting against – from racism to worker’s rights – are similar.

Michigan United

Members of a church that gave an immigrant man sanctuary are walking from Detroit to Lansing to raise awareness of his situation.

Supporters say Ded Rranxburgaj, an Albanian man who's lived in the U.S. since 2001, is the sole support for his disabled wife, who has multiple sclerosis, and his 15-year-old son.  

He's been living in Detroit's Central United Methodist Church for four months after the government revoked his humanitarian status.

Tuesday's immigrant strike in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

More than 1,000 people marched through the streets of downtown Grand Rapids Tuesday in support of immigrants and protesting deportations.

Andy Johnston is the VP of government and corporate affairs for the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. He joined Stateside to explain how immigrants play a crucial role in the Grand Rapids economy.

kate wells / Michigan Radio

A federal appeals court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that will affect the fates of hundreds of Iraqi nationals living in Michigan.

Scores of Iraqi nationals living in Metro Detroit were picked up as part of a nationwide sweep by federal immigration agents.

Fatou-Seydi Sarr
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

Fatou-Seydi Sarr was born in Senegal, but she now calls Detroit her home.

She brings her experiences as a black African Muslim immigrant woman to her work in social justice and human rights in metro Detroit.

Library of Congress

One of the cornerstones of President Trump's vision for America is reducing the flow of immigrants into the country. He wants to cut legal immigration by about 500,000 people a year over the next five decades – a 44% reduction. He also touts an immigration system based on merit, but just what does merit mean?

Michigan Sheriffs' Association

State legislators have modified a set of bills on driver's licenses and state IDs after complaints by immigrant rights' groups.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee removed a section of the bills Tuesday that immigrant advocates said would lead to confusion and racial profiling.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan schools scored poorly in the latest National Assessment of Educational progress, which tracks math and reading skills in 4th and 8th graders. Detroit schools ranked the worst for student performance.

Michigan Radio's senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry shares the results that stand out to him with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou.

picture of Lansing capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Bills that would require Michigan driver's licenses and state ID cards to show certain immigration statuses are under consideration in a state House committee.

The legislation would prohibit the secretary of state from issuing license or ID cards that expire after the duration of an immigrant's legal status.

It also would codify existing procedure for noncitizens with temporary lawful status in the U.S., such as DACA recipients or foreign college students, to require their licenses or cards display that they are a "limited-term" resident.

immigration
nancybechtol / Morguefile

Michigan, a border zone

When the term “border zone” comes to mind, one might think of El Paso, San Diego, or Tucson. But according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, the entire state of Michigan is a border zone.

Out of the limelight, Cindy Garcia keeps fighting for immigrant family reunification

Mar 13, 2018
Cindy Garcia
Georgi-Ann Bargamian / New Michigan Media

Cindy Garcia methodically sorts and folds #TeamGarcia fundraiser T-shirts in her Lincoln Park living room. The TV is on, the dog is barking, and her granddaughter is trying to get her attention.

It’s a typical Saturday for Garcia, wife of Jorge Garcia, who was deported to Mexico on Jan. 15. That’s the day Jorge Garcia became a Michigan flesh-and-blood symbol of the Trump Administration’s decision to make every undocumented individual in the United States subject to immediate removal.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan members of Congress are taking a public stance in support of a Metro Detroit man facing deportation.

Ded Rranxburgaj, a native of Albania, entered the U.S. illegally in 2001. In January, he claimed sanctuary at Detroit’s Central United Methodist Church before he could be deported. The family, including two sons, has been living there ever since.

The Statue of Liberty
Celso Flores / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When I was growing up, we were taught we should be proud to be a nation of immigrants.

Later, as a young reporter, I learned that Americans held complex and contradictory views on immigration, views that all too often could be summed up as: "Immigration was great right up until the boat that brought my ancestors over. After that, it should have been stopped." 

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