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immigrants

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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. 

The fear is real. But we can overcome it by how we live our lives.

Dec 21, 2016
arthurjohnpicton on flickr, CC by-NC 2.0

My name is Alvin Thomas. I’m the pastor of The Nations Church in Utica, Michigan.

My parents, my mom and dad, were born in south India. I was born in New York City, so I feel American.

But, as my skin color will tell you, I’m Indian.

Families caught in middle of "broken" immigration system

Aug 10, 2016
woman in blue shirt
Courtesy of Susan Reed

Politicians proclaim it. People argue about it. We hear it often:  "Our immigration system is broken."

But what exactly does that mean?

That’s a tough question to answer.

The U.S. immigration system is a complex and often confusing web of policies. Those policies touch everyone from the migrant farm worker to international Ph.D students. For years now, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have called for an overhaul of our immigration system.

collage of three photos
Flickr CC

 

Throughout your day, you’re likely meeting undocumented workers everywhere you go: the server at a restaurant.The stylist at the salon.The yard worker cutting your lawn.

 

“You can’t really go a single day without encountering one of them,” said Teresa Hendricks, the director and senior litigator for Migrant Legal Aid in Grand Rapids. “Although you wouldn’t know it because they’re living under the radar.”

 

headshot of Tel Ganesan
Courtesy of Tel Ganesan

Much of the national debate about immigration reform focuses on unskilled foreign-born workers.

But there’s another side: the highly-skilled foreign-born worker who has the knowledge and skills that businesses so badly need.

Tel Ganesan is the CEO and president of Kyyba, Incorporated. It’s an engineering services and software product company based in Farmington Hills.

Two undocumented students discuss their diverging fates

Aug 10, 2016

Two young immigrants in Michigan caught in the middle of an immigration stalemate are Daniel Lopez and Sendy Lopez.

The two friends are not related. Daniel came to the United States from Guatemala when he was seven. Thanks to the 2012 executive order known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Daniel is now among some 700,000 young people who are protected from being deported.

woman speaks in front of crowd
Courtesy of Sarahi Nieves

The following is a transcript of the State of Opportunity documentary Out From the Shadows: Living Undocumented, which you can hear at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. today.

Sarahi Nieves’ parents brought her to the U.S. when she was 7. She didn’t have papers, but she grew up here. Then she had a son, a U.S. citizen. And she had to explain what it means to be undocumented in America.

“How can you tell a four-year-old, if we don’t do this, if we don’t go through this, we might be taken apart?” she said.


Wikimedia Commons

Right now, somewhere around 11 million people are living "illegal" lives in the United States. That's close to one out of every 30 people in this country, going about their daily business under the threat of deportation. Many have lived in the United States for years, even decades. Many came to the United States at such a young age, they don't even remember life in another country. They may consider this country home, but the paperwork doesn't. The law doesn't. 

These parts you already know. 

But how did we get to this point? 

Tomorrow, we'll air our latest State of Opportunity documentary, Out From the Shadows, which follows the lives of undocumented families in Michigan. But we also spent time looking at the history of immigration law in the United States, to try to better understand how the laws have changed over time, and how so many people became excluded. 

And it's a fascinating history. 

Mstyslav Chernov / Wikimedia Commons

There’s been lots of talk lately about refugees, mostly about whether to let them into the U.S. and how they’re being vetted. But there is a human side to this story about what it actually feels like to be a refugee. So today on State of Opportunity, we're going to spend some time with a refugee who's called Michigan his home for the past four years.

Wikimedia Commons

They say it's 11 million people. Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers. People who are living in the United States without a piece of paper to prove they have the legal right to do so. 

The people who are charged with writing laws have so far come up with no law that can solve this problem. But there are ideas. One idea in particular seems to be getting a lot of air time lately: Just round up all these 11 million people and send them away. 

Let's try to imagine what that would look like. 

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