Michigan Group Gives $300,000 to Organizations Providing Refugees with Legal Services

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A Michigan group announced last week that it has awarded $300,000 to nine local organizations “working to address the needs of immigrants and refugees,” including legal services and healthcare.

The funds are part of the first round of grants provided by the Southeast Michigan Immigrant and Refugee Funder Collaborative, a project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, and the Kresge Foundation are also involved with the project, according to a September press release.

“The current total investment in the Southeast Michigan Immigrant and Refugee Funder Collaborative is $450,000 over two years — a small figure compared with the overall need,” the collaborative said last year when first announcing the initiative.

Several of the grant recipients, which were announced Tuesday, provide legal services to immigrants and refugees. The Freedom House, for instance, received $30,000 to “enhance immigration legal services for asylum seekers, asylees, and resettled refugees.”

A group called the Michigan College Access Network received $30,000 to support “undocumented student success.”

The Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center received $40,000 in funds to “enhance and expand legal services in Pontiac,” while the Chaldean American Ladies of Charity received $30,000 to “support core programming related to immigration legal services and a citizenship and assimilation program.”

The Southeast Michigan Immigrant and Refugee Funder Collaborative was made possibly by “resources” from Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, a national membership organization that launched “20 similar collaboratives in communities across the United States.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in December consenting to Michigan’s continued participation in refugee resettlement.

“Michigan has a rich history of welcoming refugees and other immigrants to our state. I am committed to ensuring that we remain a leader in responding to the needs of globally displaced families and individuals,” Whitmer said in her letter. “We recognize the value of being a welcoming state, and the contribution of refugees to the fabric of our communities.”

The letter was issued in response to an executive order from President Donald Trump that sought to give states and counties more control over refugee resettlement. A federal judge, however, recently issued a preliminary injunction against the order, putting a halt to its implementation.

“President Trump rightly and justly recognized that your communities are unique, and while some cities have the resources to adequately support refugees and help them be successful, not all communities can sustain the substantial and costly burden,” said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. “Knowing that, the Trump Administration fulfilled a key promise by giving states and localities a seat at the table in deciding whether or not refugees will be placed in your communities.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

 

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