Support groups scramble as immigration ban evolves

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Director Erika Brown-Binion said the Refugee Development Center offers services to many refugees currently in America.

Nayirah Muhammad

Director Erika Brown-Binion said the Refugee Development Center offers services to many refugees currently in America.

LANSING, Mich.—President Donald Trump’s plan to temporarily ban refugees from several predominantly Muslim countries has people who work with them reviewing their strategies.

Erika Brown-Binion, director of the Refugee Development Center in Lansing, is adjusting to changes in the status of the immigration. “It’s so soon, we’ll have yet to see what will actually happen, but, in terms of the services that we offer, we’re just being more intentional about making sure that clients receive the resources that they need,” she said on Feb. 7. “We offer English classes, after-school programs, home visits with new families, so we’re just making sure that they have that support that they need while they are here.”

Brown-Binion’s job has many elements. “I run the center. I help with financial management, program development, fund development, outreach with community partners developing new programs with community partners. We work closely with the Lansing school district, with Michigan State University in providing services and paying attention to emerging needs that happen for community members that we’re working with so that we can adjust programs to serve them better.”

The restrictions against travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries are also getting attention at the International Center on the Michigan State University campus.

Chi Phan, an MSU student from Vietnam said, “So far my life hasn’t been affected a lot but I do receive a lot of friends and family notice that they read from the news and they realize that. For sure, now it’s only happened in those countries affiliated with Muslims but who knows, sooner or later it can affect us … It kind of freaked me out because it’s America. It’s a country of immigrants.”

Phan said the restrictions are prejudicial, unconstitutional and disregard the way this country was built.

The restriction were stopped on Feb. 3, U.S District Senior Judge James Robart. His decision was upheld by three judges on an appeal. President Trump has said he would fight the decision in court and he has said he will issue a new executive order restricting immigration.