More Michigan cities "welcoming" immigrants

Dec 14, 2015

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 leaders sign a pledge to welcome immigrants
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

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.

“I’m in a way shocked that announcing what we’re announcing is news at all,” Bernero told those gathered for a mid-day news conference. “But that says something about where we are in the year 2015.”

Groups that help immigrants resettle in Michigan say they are receiving more offers of help, since the national political debate over Syrian refugees started.

Judy Harris is with St. Vincent Catholic Charities. She helps immigrants resettle in mid-Michigan.

“There’s a lot of places now that are closing their doors,” says Harris. “It’s wonderful that Lansing is opening their doors to refugees.”

Harris says her office helps about 600 new immigrants a year get settled in mid-Michigan. That number is expected to rise to 700 next year.