I joined the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center in March of this year as part of their newest program to expand legal services to the Detroit Metro area. The past six months have been filled with challenges and lessons learned. However, the past few weeks alone have been especially challenging with the case of Francis Anwana. Many are familiar with his story by now. Francis was born deaf in Nigeria. He was completely unable to communicate up until he was... more
My mother is from Mexico. That’s the response to the inevitable question posed by anyone who gets to know me. The question comes in different packages depending on the person asking. “How did you learn Spanish?” “Where are you from?” “What are you?” “Why do you have a Mexican flag hanging from your rear-view mirror?” Growing up I would test out different answers to gauge people’s reaction. “I’m Mexican.” “I’m Mexican-American.” “I’m half Mexican.” “I’m... more
[Maria Ibarra-Frayre shared the poem, The Right Way, prior to this presentation] Good afternoon, and thank you for inviting me to speak at the Welcoming Michigan Statewide Convening and Michigan Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights summit. It is an honor to be invited to speak in front of a group of so many inspirational advocates, scholars, social workers, researchers, teachers, organizers, and yes, even lawyers. My name is William Lopez, and as... more
I was born in 1985 in “Mesa Grande”, a refugee camp in Honduras. I was born there because, during the Civil War in El Salvador (1980-1992), my family had to flee from the state-led Armed Forces in 1981. We repatriated to our home country of El Salvador in 1988 with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This was four years before the end of the Civil War in 1992. My experience inspired me to advocate for immigrant and... more
A candlelight vigil Monday night outside the University Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn honors the victims of the Paris attacks. David Guralnick / The Detroit News
The Challenge of Undoing Unwelcoming by Susan Reed, Co-Managing Attorney Michigan Immigrant Rights Center This has been a difficult week for us at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center as we lead our Welcoming Michigan initiative. I do not mean to compare our experience in any way to that of the victims of the horrific attacks in Paris or Beirut. It isn’t comparable. But we have been feeling shaken in our own way. Our initiative has received... more
Children sleep in a holding cell in Brownsville, Texas. Photo courtesy Eric Gay/AP Photo.
As many of you might already know, there has been an ongoing Central American child-migrant crisis since 2011. This crisis is at an all-time peak and more unaccompanied minors are attempting to enter the United States than ever. Most of these children are escaping gang violence in Honduras and El Salvador. Although many are fleeing to the US, others are also seeking asylum in Mexico and other nearby nations. border-apprehensions.png... more