In the News / August 2017

The Impact of a Travel Ban on Middle Eastern Communities in Detroit

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Last month, the Supreme Court allowed the White House to temporarily deny entry to the citizens of six Muslim-majority nations if they do not have a “bona fide” relation to a US person or entity.

Trump’s January decree, which banned even legal permanent US residents from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, was replaced with one that excluded Iraq and did not apply to visa holders after it was suspended in courts.

Detroit takes on a great deal of refugees from the Middle East, having taken on the bulk of those arriving from Syria. This is largely due to the flourishing Arabic community in the area. Because of the significant Middle Eastern population already in Michigan, it’s logical refugees from the Middle East would come here. That being said, this ban has created a great deal of uncertainty and concern, especially in communities such as this.

“If this administration is willing to ban our relatives, what else is it willing to do?” Says Elham Khatami of the National Iranian American Council.

Lee Williams, vice president of US Committee on Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), a resettlement agency, highlighted the suffering caused by the ban on refugees, “For the clients who have been near to coming to the United States through the resettlement programme, many of them may have sold off all of their belongings at the camps… You can imagine the devastation of having been forced to flee your home, living years in a refugee camp with the hope of going, and then all of a sudden being told, ‘No, the door is being shut.'”

Read the full impact here.

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