Refugee in Michigan

Figure 1
During fiscal year (FY) 2016, 84,995 refugees were resettled in the United States, the largest amount since 1999. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data, California, Texas, and New York admitted the most refugees in FY 2016. These three states took in 24% of the U.S. total of refugees. Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, North Carolina, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Illinois ranked in the top ten states by number of resettled refugees. Among all the refugees, Syrian refugees have received more attention from the public. California (1,450) resettled the largest number of Syrian refugees in FY 2016, followed by Michigan (1,374) and Texas (912)(Figure 1).
Michigan admitted 4,258 refugees in FY 2016. Starting from 2002, the first year the U.S. officials say they have reliable state-by-state data, Michigan has accepted between 500 and 4,500 refugees annually (Figure 2). In 2012, Michigan resettled 4,585 refugees, which is the highest number among all years after 2002.
Figure 2
There are various attitudes towards the refugee resettlement situation in Michigan. Some residents support it and try to create a welcoming home for refugees. Mihaela Mitrofan, program manager of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan’s Refugee Resettlement and Repatriation Services, said “in the past, Detroit has had a welcoming spirit, and the melting pot that has been established in our area reflects that, and we want to continue to keep that spirit going.” However, some question the decision to bring in more immigrants and worried about terrorist attacks by extremists “posing” as refugees.

Organizations like Samaritas in Michigan, providing diverse programs and helping refugees to find a house. They help to host some donation events, like household furniture and goods donation, as well as monetary donations. Further, they provide language and cultural orientation for refugees, letting them know the culture and history of Michigan, job opportunities, domestic violence, safety issues, etc. With help from job developers, Samaritas also provides job training. All of their efforts are connecting refugees within communities, and empowering them to live their fullest lives possible. 

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Xuewei Chen

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