Things aren’t looking great for nonprofit services helping refugees in Southeast Michigan.
In the last year, with changes in policy and attitude in America, local resettlement agencies, and thus refugees, have suffered. After the federal government majorly reduced the amount of refugees that were able to enter the United States, the local agencies have suffered lay offs and closed offices.
The Trump administration’s claims of “security concerns” has lowered the amounts of refugees and significantly increased vetting—in an already stringent procedure. According to the local nonprofits, these new policies have not only affected the nonprofits, but have also caused issues for employers that rely on hiring refugees for labor.
Steve Tobocman, an executive director of Global Detroit, is a firm believer that immigration is a successful strategy for economic development. According to Tobocman, “ultilmately, the current state of affairs impacts the services agencies can offer to integrate new refugees.”
Local agencies are having to seek new sources of revenue, looking to alternative funding options such as private grants, local churches, and community groups.
According to Vickie Thompson-Sandy, the president of a social services agency based in Detroit that aids in refugee resettlement, “When we’re closing offices…where does a refugee go? They can no longer stop by our office to get basic support…we really have to rely on local partners, now, to do some of that work for us.”
According to the U.S. Department of State, the number of refugees coming to Michigan dropped forty percent in the 2017 fiscal year.
Trump is only allowing 45,000 refugees to come to the United States in 2018, which is approximately half the amount allowed in 2016.
Financially, this will affect places like Southeast Michigan where, according to a study released by Global Detroit, over the last ten years refugees have generated $295.3 million in new spending.
While this is one reason that accepting refugees is a good thing to do, the more important reason is that basic human decency calls for helping those in need.
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