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Families & Community

The connections that build opportunity.

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Thousands of young immigrants in Michigan today are living in a state of limbo. 

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to end the Obama administration's deferred action program that allowed these young immigrants to go to school, and work, without fear of deportation. 

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Wikimedia Commons

Young immigrants were filled with joy and hope when President Obama signed the executive order called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) almost five years ago.

But today, those feelings of excitement have changed to ones of fear and apprehension.

Rev. Jill Hardt Zundel's church in Detroit provides sanctuary to undocumeted immigrants.
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Eight places of worship in Michigan – in metro Detroit and near Kalamazoo – have officially joined a growing number of churches and synagogues across the country that have agreed to house and protect unauthorized immigrants who fear deportation.

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User Yukiko Matsuoka / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement in January on protecting immigrant children following president Trump's immigration-focused Executive Orders.

The statement highlighted the effects that these crackdowns can have on kids, including fear and toxic stress. Those can harm the developing brain and negatively impact both short- and long-term health.

Immigration and refugee policy are pretty complicated topics, and it can be easy to forget about the kids who are in the middle of that political debate. Here's a look back at some recent stories about how that debate is affecting young people here in America and across the world. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents making arrest in Dearborn.
U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

Miguel and Angel are brothers and they pretty much disagree on everything: TV shows, music, games, even the way they dress. But that stuff’s all pretty minor compared to the big disagreement they have over where they should go if their mom is deported back to Mexico.

Miguel is 14-years old and a proud mama’s boy. He says he never wants to separate from his mom and will go with her to Mexico even though he’s only visited there once, when he was three.

Big brother Angel, who's 15, says he wants to stay here in the U.S. and finish studying.

three girls on stage in flapper costumes
Courtesy of 4th Wall Theatre Company

Did you ever dream of seeing your name on a Broadway marquee as a kid?

If so, you probably have some fond memories of memorizing lines and making costumes for school plays. But for kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities, finding a spotlight isn’t always easy.

Mike Blank / Michigan Radio

 

When we talk about segregated schools, we need to look no further than Detroit. Census figures from the Michigan Department of Education tell us Detroit is a city where more than 82% of its students are African-American, just 2% are white and only 0.24% are multi-racial.

A new charter school on Detroit's east side, in the Indian Village neighborhood, is working hard to change that.

Detroit Prep is a free public charter school authorized by Grand Valley State University. Right now, it's got kindergarten and first grade students. 

Its founders were determined that Detroit Prep would be the city's first intentionally diverse charter school. So they set out by casting a wide net in recruiting students and in offering strong academics.

Clipping courtesy of Ray Litt / via Detroit Free Press

Sixty-two years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, many school districts in Michigan and throughout the country remain deeply segregated.

In the Detroit City School District, for example, just 2.18% of students are white, while more than 80% are black. In many of the city’s suburbs, the numbers are reversed. In Utica Community Schools (which includes Sterling Heights), about 86% of students are white, while fewer than 5% are black.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

For the past several days, there have been many, many stories about President Trump’s actions on refugee policy, and his administration’s travel ban for people from 7 Muslim-majority nations.

But last week, the President also signed one other executive action that could have a big impact on immigrants in Michigan.

The action spelled out how Trump’s administration would prioritize its deportations for undocumented immigrants. The plan Trump announced means lawmakers in Lansing could have a huge say in who will be targeted in Michigan.

courtesy of Jewellynne Richardson

Our State of Opportunity team has been looking all year at the connection between neighborhoods and opportunity for children and families. We've been hearing a lot of concerns in the neighborhoods of Grand Rapids about how new development is making life harder for long time residents. 

Down Eastern Avenue in Grand Rapids, just before the railroad tracks, there’s a little building. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside Jewellynne Richardson has built a rich world of culture.

“I consider myself to be the one-stop culture shop,” she says.

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