Mich. groups to show support, talk help for refugees

  • Written by:

Charles E. Ramirez, The Detroit
(Photo: Detroit News file)
A dozen Michigan organizations that serve refugees are scheduled to meet at 11:30 a.m. Thursday to show their support for exiles and discuss developing a plan to help them.

The Arab-American Civil Rights League, Samaritas, Michigan’s largest resettler of refugees, and the Syrian American Rescue Network, a nonprofit that helps refugees adjust to life in Michigan, are among the groups expected to attend the meeting.

The Arab American and Chaldean Council will host the event at its offices in Troy.

“With the current immigration situation in the United States, and its affects here in Michigan, we at the (Arab American and Chaldean Council) felt it was very important to convene a meeting of organizations that address the services and needs of refugees, and affirm our commitment of assistance and hope during the ongoing humanitarian crisis,” Haifa Fakhouri, the group’s president and CEO said in a statement.

The subject of refugees has been a lightning rod of controversy across the country as well as in Michigan and Metro Detroit.

Last month, President Donald Trump issued an executive order he said was aimed at keeping terrorists out of the United States and strengthening national security. The order banned immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. It also indefinitely barred the processing of refugees from Syria.

It sparked lawsuits, courts suspended the ban and a federal appeals court refused to reinstate it.

The Trump administration is working on a new executive order, but green-card holders and dual citizens of the U.S. and any of those seven Muslim-majority countries are exempt. In addition, Syrian refugees are not to be singled out by authorities when processing new visa applications.

Metro Detroit is home to one of the largest concentration of Muslims in the United States.

More than 19,947 Syrian refugees have come into the U.S. since May 2011, according to the U.S. State Department.

More than 2,094 Syrian refugees have arrived in Michigan since then, the federal agency reports. California ranks first in the number of Syrian refugees with 2,182.

Most of the refugees who come to Michigan resettled in Metro Detroit, primarily in Troy, Clinton Township and Dearborn, according to the state department.

The Troy area is the No. 1 destination for Syrian refugees in Michigan, where 647 have taken up residence between May 2011 and Tuesday, according to the state department. Clinton Township is second with 452 and Dearborn has 364.