97-year-old Polish immigrant Irving Griffel came to the United States at 18, leaving his family and the old country for a better life. But when WWII broke out, his family never got the chance to follow. It was 1938. Irving Griffel was just 18 when he arrived in the new country. It had been a long journey from his native Poland that had started years prior.
By CHAO YAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — On May Day, workers and immigrants across Michigan will rally to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Under the slogan “Rise up,” the Michigan effort is a part of national action across 200 cities on Monday, May 1. The seven Michigan cities scheduled to participate are Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, Battle Creek and Rochester. The action in Michigan is primarily sponsored by Michigan United, a statewide civil rights organization. Other pro-immigrant groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Michigan Muslim Community Council and Emerge USA, are also supporting the event.
One of Donald Trump’s most popular campaign promises is to build a physical barrier between America and Mexico. Furthermore, he is confident that he will make Mexico pay for it. Is that plan as simple as he claims? “Honestly, I think it’s just more Donald Trump rhetoric that he himself knows,” said Anna Pegler-Gordon, a social relations and policy professor at Michigan State University. “It’s just not going to happen, but it’s a good sound bite.”
At one point, Trump threatened to restrict the flow of payments made by U.S. immigrants to their families in Mexico, which is vital to the Mexican economy, unless the agreed to foot the bill for the wall.
Medina Osmanagic is a child of Bosnian immigrants — an identity that has drastically influenced her participation in American politics. “My family is not very Americanized and barely speaks English,” said the junior studying neuroscience and Spanish at Michigan State University. “They feel like they are less than everyone else.”
While her parents have lived in the United States for 19 years – after seeking refuge from the Bosnian War – they continue to hold a strong connection to their home country. This relationship with Bosnia has specifically affected Osmanagic’s willingness to participate in U.S. elections. “My parents have never voted a day in our (family’s) lives, so they never pushed it on us,” said Osmanagic.
For Oscar Castaneda, an immigrant from Guatemala, President Obama’s announcement could not have come fast enough. “I’ve been waiting for 10 years for someone to do something about immigration and nobody does,” Castaneda
But now, that has changed. “First, we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for law enforcement personnel…Second, I’ll make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepeneurs to stay and contribute to our economy…Third, we’ll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country,” Obama said in a statement to the United States. But there are not enough details for Castaneda to know whether it will truly effect him. Despite this, he is happy to see something done.