Karin Dains, Board member of the IFLC, Communication Director for the Bloomfield Hills Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Board member of Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue of Metro Detroit (WISDOM), shared her thoughts on the Recognizing Refugees and At-Risk Immigrants panel discussion last week hosted by the IFLC and the Waterford Refugee Welcome Alliance.
“Listening to the stories of the panelists reminded me of the fact that it truly takes a village to create a welcoming environment for immigrants. I am so grateful for each of these organizations and for the fact that I, too, was able to emigrate to the US thanks to the aid of others who provided a home and a job so we could come. At the same time, I am saddened that America is no longer as welcoming to immigrants as it was in the past.
If my family was applying for immigration status at this time in our history, we would be soundly rejected because of my parents’ lack of marketable skills, spoken English, etc. As I have visited with immigrants, past and present, I am touched by the fact that today’s immigrants desire the same things my family did: safety for their families; education for their children; freedom to worship; the privilege of holding jobs.
No one wants to replace the citizens of the US; they want to become citizens of this nation. In the end, we are all immigrants unless we have the privilege of being part of early American Indian cultures, and as “immigrants” we have pushed that group of individuals into the background. Hearing Rebecca, Ranya, and Wojciech share their stories makes me want to fully support these and other organizations that are trying so hard to make this the land it once was and can still be. Yes, it takes a village, and we are that village.
One final thought: We need to stop separating people into categories. These individuals are human beings and until we learn to appreciate their customs and the gifts they are so willing to share with us, we are not seeing them as we should see them -- our brothers and sisters!”