Whitmer tells Trump admin Michigan will still welcome refugees

    Naturalization ceremony in Detroit, Nov. 8, 2019 | Ken Coleman

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent a letter this week to the President Trump administration that local communities and jurisdictions in Michigan will continue to support the resettlement and welcoming of refugees.

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at LCC, Oct. 10, 2019 | Nick Manes

    The letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is necessary as the Trump administration now requires written consent from states for refugees to be resettled. On Sept. 26, the Trump administration released an executive order, “Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement.”

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

    In another executive order, the White House released the presidential determination for refugee resettlement for Fiscal Year 2020, lowering the refugee resettlement goal from 30,000 to 18,000. In previous years, refugee goals were set between 75,000 and 95,000. With over 70 million forcibly displaced individuals worldwide, this number is significantly below what the United States could welcome into our communities, Whitmer’s office noted in a press release.

    Whitmer appoints Fayrouz Saad to head state’s immigration office

    Whitmer created the Office of Global Michigan and appointed Fayrouz Saad as its director in September. The office advises the governor on matters relating to new Americans, immigration policy and enforcement of federal immigration laws in Michigan. She has directed Michigan’s state refugee coordinator and the Office of Global Michigan to work with local communities to provide compliance assistance so that they can continue the welcoming work in which they are already engaged.

    “Every day, we hear stories of the positive social, cultural, and economic impact refugees are making across Michigan,” said Saad. “We hear it from our community leaders, a bipartisan group of elected officials, and business leaders who have all voiced their support for resettlement.”

    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.