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The FBI’s Peter Strzok spends 10 hours in open testimony in Congress. Also on the Friday rundown: Granite Staters protest AG Sessions' approach to fighting opioid abuse, and Latino Conservation Week starts on Saturday.

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Immigration Orders Spark Fear, Confusion Across Michigan

Many immigrants in Michigan are confused and fearful in the wake of President Trump's order. (Welcoming Michigan)
Many immigrants in Michigan are confused and fearful in the wake of President Trump's order. (Welcoming Michigan)
January 30, 2017

DETROIT -- With one of the largest populations of Middle Eastern immigrants in the nation, Michigan is feeling the ripple effects of President Trump's recent executive orders.

Christine Sauve is the senior program coordinator at the Welcoming Michigan project at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. She said the combination of the "extreme vetting" order halting refugee resettlement and the suspension of visas for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries will touch virtually every community, corner and industry in the state.

"The refugees who were planning to arrive in Michigan certainly this week, this month,” Sauve said; "it affects international students. It affects folks who've been abroad for business. There's faculty that are from abroad. There's students from abroad. There's employees from abroad."

While a federal judge issued a stay blocking the order, the Department of Homeland Security has continued to enforce it, which is why Sauve said her office is advising foreign nationals from the countries listed in the order not to travel, as it's not clear they'll be able to return.

She said that while much attention has been focused on the nation's airports, it's important to remember that the same rules will apply to Michigan's bridge and tunnel crossings with Canada.

Trump has said the order is necessary to ensure those entering the country do not pose a threat, but Sauve argued that it only serves to tear at the fabric of the nation and put all immigrants on edge.

"To worry, 'Am I going to be seen as suspect in my own community and will I ever be able to travel back to visit my family abroad?'" Sauve said. "This is a whole new era related to immigration law the likes of which we have not seen.”

She suggested that those looking for ways to support immigrants and refugees reach out to their local refugee resettlement office, to their faith leaders, and simply to their friends and neighbors.

On Sunday, a large group turned out to protest the executive order at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, while thousands more rallied in Hamtramck, Dearborn and other cities across the state.

For more information, visit WelcomingMichigan.org.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI