‘What Makes us Strong’: Michigan Proclaims June Immigrant Heritage Month

June is Immigrant Heritage Month, as proclaimed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and celebrates the contributions of immigrants in shaping Michigan communities and strengthening the state’s economy.

There are over 678,000 immigrants in Michigan that make up roughly 7% of Michigan’s total population, according to data from the American Immigration Council. These individuals mostly immigrate from countries like Mexico, India, Iraq, China and Canada.

“For generations, immigrants have made tremendous contributions to this country in arts, culture and beyond, and they also continue to grow businesses, offer innovative ideas, strengthen our economy and create jobs right here in Michigan,” said Poppy Sias-Hernandez, director of the Office of Global Michigan, in a news release. “We are thrilled to celebrate the rich contributions immigrants have shared to help us build diverse and welcoming communities across our state.”

The latest data from the American Immigration Council shows that Michigan residents in immigrant-led households had $18.4 billion in spending power in 2018.

The top occupations in Michigan with the highest number of foreign-born workers are software developers, agricultural workers, physicians, physical therapists and postsecondary teachers. More than 40% of immigrants in the state also possess a college or higher degree, and more than four in five report speaking English well.

Dave Abdallah, who serves on the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs with the Office of Global Michigan, came to America with his family from Lebanon as a child in 1976.

In a statement through the office, he said how people treat immigrants is important.

“It is OK not to be able to speak their language,” Abdallah said. “It is OK to see their culture as being different, but you must invite them in, not physically, but emotionally by understanding their lack of [English] language or their lack of [American] culture.”

In Michigan, more than 50% of immigrants had naturalized as of 2018. About 100,000 undocumented immigrants made up 15% of the immigrant population, and 1% of the total state population in 2016.

By Alyssa Burr
Read full article HERE

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