With over 70 million people around the world forced to flee their homes due to violence and persecution, Gov. Whitmer proclaims June 20 as World Refugee Day in Michigan to highlight Michigan as a safe and welcoming home to many looking for hope and opportunity, and to acknowledge their struggle and protect their human rights.
Refugees living in the U.S. and several Michigan cities make tremendous contributions to our economy as earners, taxpayers and consumers, just like all immigrants. To ensure their collective success, the state’s Office of Global Michigan (OGM) offers supportive services to refugees as they adjust to their new homes.
“Michigan has stepped up to meet the needs and welcome thousands of refugees who are in eager to be contributing members of society,” said OGM Director Fayrouz Saad.
OGM’s Refugee Services program leverages federal, state and local resources to ensure refugees can contribute to their highest potential and use their talents to make Michigan continue to thrive. The program contracts with various non-profit and local agencies to provide social services to help people start over, become self-sufficient and integrate with their new community.
“I hope my story and journey will encourage others to have confidence in themselves and not fall into the belief that they must depend on social and government assistance to live in the U.S.,” said Cuban American Tamara Silva Peregrin, who fled Cuba in 1994. “Most people who come to this country have the intention of being independent and productive, and I believe they should be able to just that.”
Five Michigan agencies, funded through the federal Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration in the Department of State, provide initial reception and placement services for the first 30 to 90 days in the United States for people who have just arrived in the country with refugee status.
The following agencies in Michigan assist with that initial resettlement process:
Bethany Christian Services Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County Samaritas Vincent Catholic Charities United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants - Dearborn
The state recognizes World Refugee Day as a time engage in conversation about the global need to welcome refugees and understand that fleeing their home country is often just the beginning of a difficult journey.
Join the conversation online using #WorldRefugeeDay and visit Michigan.gov/ImmigrantHeritage for the digital toolkit and refugee stories.