Detroit Immigration Task Force celebrates Immigrant Heritage Month ⋆

A resolution passed this month by the Detroit City Council celebrates Immigrant Heritage Month in Michigan’s largest city.

“The resolution acknowledges Detroit’s past and present as a beacon of freedom, refuge, and opportunity for migrants from around the world. Detroit is home to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers of all backgrounds, and continues to welcome people – regardless of immigration status – to make a new life in the Motor City,” according to the measure sponsored by City Council Member Gabriela Santiago-Romero, co-chair of the Detroit Immigration Task Force.

The taskforce was formed in 2014.

A section of Detroit’s northeast side has a significant immigrant community. | Ken Coleman

There are about 36,000 foreign-born residents living in Detroit, according to U.S. Census data. The largest majority hail from Latin America, followed by Asia, Europe, and Africa. Nearly half of Detroit immigrants are naturalized citizens and approximately 11% of Detroit households speak a language other than English at home. Additionally, there are many U.S. citizens in Detroit living with undocumented family members, including U.S. citizen children living with an undocumented parent and U.S. citizens with an undocumented spouse. 

“As a proud immigrant from Mexico, I understand first hand the challenges and opportunities immigrants face in the city of Detroit,” said Santiago-Romero, “I’m honored to serve as the first Mexican immigrant on the City Council. My office is doing all that we can to continue to make our city a safe, welcoming and thriving community for all who call it home.”

The city has sizable immigrant communities in Southwest Detroit and Banglatown on the Northeast side. 

“I am eternally grateful to my ancestors who had the courage to leave their families and countries of origin to start new lives here in the City of Detroit,” said Christine Sauvé, co-chair of the Detroit Immigration Task Force. “My great-grandfather came as an unaccompanied minor, without a visa or resources, and was able to prosper by starting as a sanitation worker for the City of Detroit and eventually opening his own business. We know there are thousands of similar brave individuals present in the city today, people with and without authorized immigration status who have fled poverty, violence, and conflict to share their talent and culture with fellow Detroiters.”

Sophia Chue | Caribbean Community Service Center photo

This month, the Detroit Immigration Task Force also recognized Caribbean American Heritage Month and World Refugee Day. 

Sophia Chue, a Jamaican immigrant and task force member, looks forward to a continued effort geared toward lifting up member stories and diversity, equity and inclusion. Chue, who arrived in the U.S. at age 16, noted people from the Caribbean have been part of Detroit since the 1800s. 

“Having the conversation through our city’s lens has meant a lot to us,” Chue said. 

authored by Ken Coleman
First published at

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