The Rapidian

Focus on Issues - Refugees & Immigration Support

Guests from Justice for our Neighbors West Michigan, Thrive - A Refugee Support Program, Treetops Collective, and The Refugee Education Center met to discuss immigrant and refugee rights and support systems in West Michigan

About Focus on Issues

Focus on Issues is a GRTV program dedicated to discussing difficult issues in the West Michigan region. The program welcomes guests from a number of area organizations that are related to the topic selected for the month's segment. 

If you have questions about the program or suggestions for a Focus on Issues topic, please contact the host Adrian Hirsch

Focus on Issues - Refugee & Immigration Support

Focus on Issues - Refugee & Immigration Support /GRTV

GRTV's Focus on Issues program recently was joined by Raquel Owens, Executive Director at Thrive - A Refugee Support Program and Justice for our Neighbors West Michigan, Dana Doll, Executive Director at Treetops Collective, and Susan Kragt Executive Director from The Refugee Education Center to discuss what their organizations do to support refugees and immigrants in the area, as well as ways for these community members to access information on their rights and where to turn for assistance for themselves and their families. 

This program was recorded before the Trump administration announced it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Justice for our Neighbors is offering assistance for those wishing to renew their applications for DACA before the deadline on October 5. 

We discussed how the organizations are approaching the fast-paced legislative changes from the current administration, and how community members are grappling with uncertainty resulting from changing policies and the current social environment. Many organizations supporting refugees and immigrants are seeing an increase in those seeking assistance and encourage community members who wish to learn more to get in touch or get involved.

In times of uncertainty, the best method of protection for individuals and families is to know individual's rights as prescribed by law, and the steps to take if family members are being scrutinized by law enforcement or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. We also discussed ways for area youth to approach reactions from their peers and at school so they can feel comfortable and welcomed in the community.  

Focus on Issues is one of the many ways that the Community Media Center serves to inform community members and support area nonprofits. For information about this and other CMC services for nonprofits, or to suggest a topic for a future Focus on Issues program, contact Nonprofit Outreach Coordinator, Adrian Hirsch, at 616-459-4788 x105 or email [email protected].

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