Immigrating to Michigan Over Time (1970s – Present)

By: Eileen LeValley, Jacob Walerius, and Jada Martin

Background

Since the turn of the century, immigration policy has been amongst the hottest talking points in modern America. In recent years those talks have only gotten hotter with President Trump’s plans and policies constantly being called into question. From the coverage of conditions in immigration camps, to the increased government focus on finding and deporting illegal immigrants, it’s not unfair to say that immigration policies, procedures, and their execution have never been more at the forefront of political and social conversation . It has been well documented how tough and lengthy the process can be to become a U.S. citizen, thus resulting in a plethora of illegal immigrants unable to obtain citizenship or some sort of other legal residency and therefore ending up being deported back to their country of origin or held in one of the notorious immigrations camps.   

A graph representing Michigan’s foreign born population from 1990-2017. Information provided by Migrationpolicy.com.

From green cards to legal residency through marriage to U.S. citizenship, there are many ways to legally reside in America and the process for all of them can be very different and challenging. This multimedia package will take a look into these experiences of real people who have immigrated to America (more specifically Michigan) over the past few decades and compare their experiences across time to see how the processes for these different forms of residency might have changed or differed along the way. 

John Chisholm: Immigrated From England In 1979 

John Chisholm and his wife Kathy in their backyard in Clawson, Michigan on November 11, 2019.

John Chisholm originally immigrated to Michigan from the United Kingdom in 1979 when he received a job offer from an aftermarket automotive company in Detroit. He came in on a temporary visa from the UK and had to keep reapplying for it in order to legally stay in the states.

“Every two or three months I would have to go back to the UK and then come in (to America) again. And then back again and then come in again.” John says of his initial green card process.

In the process of applying for a green card he had to fill out large sets of paperwork and undergo numerous interviews and medical examinations before ultimately getting his green card. He still goes through the process of reapplying for his green card and says the organization is actually far better now than what it was back in the 1970’s, where as before there was no appointment that could be made at the immigration office and it was more of a scramble of who could get their first before the office opened in the morning just to get out at a reasonable time. 

“It was first come first serve, and you would actually spend hours just waiting.” He described of the past immigration offices. “They treated me well but I had a suit and an attorney, I heard how they talked to some people.” 

While John says the green card process has gotten easier, he says he has no plans to get an American citizenship as it provides him no real benefits beyond what he has with his green card. He says in order to obtain American citizenship he says he would have to “swear allegiance to the flag” thereby renouncing his citizenship in the UK, a process he calls “unusual”. 

The full interview with John is available here. 

Jill Clissold: Immigrated From Scotland In 1984

Jill Clissold posing for a photo her home in Clawson, Michigan on November 13, 2019.

Jill Clissold first immigrated from Scotland to the United States 1984 after marrying her American husband William Clissold in Scotland. Just two days after the wedding, Jill and her husband came to America and started the process of making Jill a legal resident. She was told by a girl at the immigration office that they shouldn’t say they were married in Scotland, but rather say she is currently his fiance and then get married within a month of moving stateside to make it legal. 

“So we got married twice.” Jill said. “I took my ring off. We said we weren’t really married and I was his fiance so we had to get married within that first month.”

Jill says there was no real paperwork process at the time since she obtained residency through marriage. She just had to do the official paperwork for marriage and that was really it in order to become a legal resident. 

Jill still has not applied for citizenship and says she doesn’t want to as she already has all the desired benefits through her legal residency. Becoming a citizen would require her to renounce Scotland as her home country, something she does not want to do. 

The full interview with Jill is available here.

Antonia Morabito: Immigrated From Italy In 1999

Antonia Morabito posing for a picture at LASED offices in Detroit, Michigan on November 11, 2019.

Antonia Morabito immigrated to Dearborn, Michigan from Italy in June of 1999 after marrying a U.S. citizen. She describes the paperwork process she had to go through as relatively simple.

“At the time it was easy.” Antonia says of her paperwork process back in 1999. “We were told we had 90 days to start our paperwork, so we did it. My husband filled out four really short applications. Each application had a fee and it’s total was $400 so we paid.”

In 2011 Antonia officially became a U.S. citizen after spending 12 years as a legal resident. She says the process now is completely different compared to when she first immigrated. Now she says the process can take up to 18 months and the process fees are $1800 compared to the $400 she paid before. She says the modern paperwork is much longer, detailed, and complex compared to what it was when she first immigrated in 1999.

The full interview with Antonia is available here.

Ali Sanat: Immigrated From Algeria In 2018

Ali Sanat posing for a photo at his home in Clawson, Michigan on November 11, 2019.

Ali Sanat immigrated to the U.S. from Algeria in March of 2018. He has expressed desire in becoming a citizen despite the difficult process, but for now he only has his green card. The way in which he got his green card was through a sort of lottery. He says he had to enter his information online in order to apply for the lottery, and he was one of the lucky winners of the lottery that granted him his green card. 

Ali, now has his wife, daughter, and son with him living in the United States. His daughter is going to Michigan State University. He sponsors his wife, daughter, and son as they reside in the United States.

The full interview with Ali is available here.

Final Reflection Blog

I really enjoyed this class. The media skills that I learned were time consuming, but I still enjoyed the time I spent doing them. The Oakland University Library Technology Services was very helpful to me the entire semester. My computer and editing skills are weak, and the library made it comfortable for me in case I needed assistance while I was doing my projects.

I would still like to do more with areas such as downloading videos, photographs and editing audio recordings and videos. I believe these skills would strengthen when the more I do them, the more comfortable and knowledgeable I will become.

My favorite part was interviewing people. The subject of immigration and the people I interviewed, was very interesting and enlightening to me. I interviewed people who immigrated from Italy, Scotland, England, Germany, Mexico, and South Africa.

I discovered a wealth of information from the people I interviewed who immigrated to the United States. One thing I found interesting, was all of the people I interviewed had one thing in common that they missed about the country they came from. They all missed the Food!!! They talked about when they immigrated to the United States, they discovered the food was so different then the food from their country. One day, I would like to do a large extensive project on this subject: Immigrants and the Food from their Country.

Lab # 3 was my favorite project. Going back to the neighborhood I grew up in was fun. I enjoyed taking pictures in the neighborhood, it brought back a lot of fond memories. I discovered I forgot so much through the years about my past, and the things that are important to me.

Doing this project, brought back so many memories of my childhood, such as my father and grandfather. Sometimes I think as we are living our life, we forget what is most important. Doing Lab # 3, made me realize my heritage and family, are what matters most. The photographs I took for Lab # 3 were fun. Some of them are of historical content, which is really cool!

Lab # 4 was very educational for me. This was the Lab that I learned how to do an audio interview. All of the functions of the Multi-Media class came into play here. I had to use all of my skills for journalism, technology and multi-media. Although I was nervous and this was my first interview, I discovered this might be something I would like to do in the future, on a broader level.

Interviewing people on immigrating to the United States is very personal. It is information you could never get from a book, or the internet. The personal level of their information is heartwarming, educational, and interesting all at the same time.

I really enjoyed doing my “Simple Digital Story.” Although it was time consuming, it was one of my favorite projects on immigration. Antonia Morabito is a very unique and interesting person. The wealth of information she shared about immigration was amazing.

The Director at LASED called me at the last minute before my project was due. She wanted to meet with me to see my project, including pictures before I published it. This was unexpected. All and all, it was a very good meeting. She was pleased with what I had, I did not have to change anything. She explained to me that she wanted to keep the integrity of LASED and the people in the Senior and Youth Centers privacy intact if needed.

My behavior towards immigrants has not changed. Doing my “Simple Digital Story” opened my mind to volunteering my time more often. The work that Antonia Morabito and everyone at LASED does is wonderful. The rich heritage of the Hispanic community is heartwarming. Without a lot of money or resources, everyone at LASED is friendly and upbeat regardless.

This was a challenging project, because there were certain rules I had to follow as directed by LASED. In the future, I would love to do more projects at LASED with the supervision of Antonia Morabito and the entire staff.

Blog # 5 Lab 7

I did not originally do Lab #2, I was paired with Jacob and Jada for Lab # 7. Although I understand the crowdsourcing that was done for this project, I feel there is more than a chart with data and percentages that come into play here.

Single parent household information, would be more accurate if done on a case by case basis. Facebook, Snap-chat and Instagram are a good start for opinions, but talking to people individually in person would be a good component for this subject.

I understand this project is about data and charts, but more information would add to the understanding of the subject. Taking into consideration the subjects of abuse, parents work schedules, and any other personal information about the parents, would change opinions of Facebook, Snap-Chat and Instagram responses of people.

Depending on the subject, crowdsourcing with just data could be questionable. So my thinking is, would using a data website for the subject of single parents be accurate if you knew the whole story for each individual family?

Data collecting is good for research, but using it with more personal information on the subject of single parent households, would be more accurate.

The data chart and opinions of people on Facebook, Snap-Chat and Instagram are not the whole story of how these figures ended up on the charts. This is just basically data collected for Government websites.

Lab # 7 Single Parent Households

Why do mothers have a higher percentage of taking custody of their children upon separation of the fathers? According to Census.gov.

Our crowdsourcing produced 23 answers across 3 forms of social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram) and the feedback we gathered was very consistent. Of the 23 responses we got, 18 of them said that the mother should get the children because mother’s are typically more caring, patient, nurturing, and have better qualities and instincts when raising children. Therefore a whopping 78% agreed that the mother was the better parent to raise the children.
Meanwhile just 5 of the responses we got, or simply 21%, said that they thought the father would be the better caregiver as a single parent. Though some of the responses did leave room for leeway when deciding this, as some responses mentioned that it can be a case-by-case basis of who the better parent is.

Simple Digital Story

“LASED”- Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development

Antonia Morabito, Immigration Specialist

Antonia Morabito, Immigration Specialist at LASED in Detroit, Michigan. Monday, November 11, 2019. Photograph by Eileen LeValley

Meet Antionia Morabito. She is an immigration specialist at LASED in Detroit , Michigan. LASED stands for , Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development. LASED is located in Southwest Detroit, in the neighborhood known as “Mexicantown”

Antonias journey started when she did her internship at LASED from 2007-2008. She received her Masters degree in International Communication of Hispanic Studies. During this time, she was also teaching classes at University of Detroit Mercy, for Italian and Spanish.

She taught classes at University of Detroit Mercy until 2012. After completing her internship at LASED in 2008, LASED hired her full time as an Immigration Specialist and Educational Coordinator. Antonia speaks five different languages, English, Spanish, Italian, Greek, and Latin.

Antonia also teaches classes at LASED. The first class she teaches is “ESL” English as a Second Language. The second class she teaches is “United States Citizenship.” She teaches both of these classes to adults and youths. Antonia also helps with the daily operations of the LASED youth and senior centers.

As an immigration specialist, Antonia helps immigrants apply to be a United States Citizen. She helps immigrants with Green Cards, work documents, and the entire process that has anything to do with immigrating to Michigan.

Antonia works with Cubans who arrived to the United States in the 1980’s and earlier. Some of these Cubans came to the United States under the rules and regulations of the Nixon Administration. LASED is the only one in the area that works with Cubans.

LASED is one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Detroit. The first to work with the Hispanic community. LASED is also the first organization to work with an entire community. Anyone in the area can go to LASED with immigration help or questions. If anyone is scared by what they see on television about immigration, they can go to LASED with questions, and she will explain to them the reality of the situation.

Antonia also works with DREAMERS. Dreamers Education Reform, or Dream Act. Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. An American legislative proposal for a process for granting residency status to qualifying immigrants who entered the United States as minors. It would first grant conditional residency , and upon meeting further qualifications permanent residency. In June of 2012, President Barrack Obama announced his administration would stop deporting undocumented immigrants who matched certain criteria included in the proposed DREAM act.

Antonia’s successes as an Immigration Specialist include helping over 550 people in the last ten years become a United States Citizen. Lawyers have messed up immigration cases for immigrants, because they were not knowledgeable about immigration rules and laws. Antonia works with immigrants to fix these complicated issues.

Antonia directs cases with children who are being held in determent camps today to the Mexican Consulates.

If an immigrant is deported out of the United States after living for one year in the United States, because of issues, Antonia gets involved and helps them with immigration policy. Immigrants must follow the regulations. If they commit a crime, or have issues with domestic violence, jail time, or drug related issues, they will get sent back. There are limits as to what Antoina can help them with. They will also loose their Green Card.

Citizenship to the United States requires that you live more than 5 years in the United States before you apply for citizenship. You must know the 100 questions related to the United States on the test, and read and write english. It is a 3-5 month process, and Antonia helps with all of these requirements for immigrants. You must also be over 18 years old, file income tax, and have no trouble with firearms, prostitution or drugs.

Today, Antonia faces new challenges. Under the new rules of the Trump Administration, immigration policy has changed. Now, renewing a Green Card takes up to eleven months, and a specific background check must be implemented. In the past, renewing a Green Card was easy. Also new, is the applicant must know 70% English which is difficult, because most did not go to school. If the applicant does not have health insurance, or if they have received some type of public assistance such as Medicaid, they can not apply for United States Citizenship.

Antonia’s toughest decisions in the last year, is telling people they can not apply for citizenship, because they do not meet the new regulations of the Trump Administration. These immigrants then go to a lawyer and pay large amounts of money. The lawyers keep their money, knowing that they do not meet the criteria. These people end up back at LASED with Antonia trying to help them. As of October 14, 2019 immigrants must have Health Insurance, or they can not renew or get a Green Card.

Antonia talked about how today’s immigrants, are different from the immigrants years ago. Statistics say immigrants come from countries that are poor, or dealing with civil war. They live in poverty or hope of a better life. Mostly Latin countries, not Europe. After World War 2 , the United States opened boarders from countries who were affected by war. Now if someone immigrates from Europe, it’s for a job. Middle East, Africa and Asia, come because of a struggling situation they have in their own countries.

Antonia’s work as an Immigration Specialist helps so many people. She helps keep an entire community together, not just immigrants. This is an issue we all should be involved with, building communities and helping one another. And just remember, the United States is what it is today, because of immigrants.

LASED Main Office in Detroit, Michigan. Monday, November 11, 2019. Photograph by Eileen LeValley
LASED Senior and Youth Center in Detroit, Michigan, Monday, November 11, 2019. Photograph by Eileen LeValley
LASED Art work outside on garage doors painted by LASED Youth Center. Detroit, Michigan. Monday, November 11, 2019. Photograph by Eileen LeValley
Antonia Morabito, Immigration Specialist at LASED in her classroom waiting for her students to arrive for the Citizenship Class she teaches. Detroit, Michigan. Monday, November 11, 2019. Photograph by Eileen LeValley
Antonia Morabito at LASED proudly shows the “Different Countries Flag” she created with the youth center children. Detroit, Michigan. Monday, November 11, 2019. Photograph by Eileen LeValley
One of many youth art work pieces displayed at LASED created by the children in the Youth Center. Detroit, Michigan. Monday, November 11, 2019. Photograph by Eileen LeValley
One of many examples of what the Immigrants in the Citizenship Class at LASED have available to them in the classroom as reference. Detroit, Michigan. Monday, November 11, 2019. Photograph by Eileen LeValley

Blog # 4 Lab 6

Unfortunately, I was not able to do Lab # 6. The person I had lined up for an interview for immigration and my five shot video had to cancel at the last minute. The opportunity I had to do Lab #6 in class was also not achievable, because I was not feeling well and not in class.

I’m disappointed, because I really needed to learn hands on the process of publishing and editing more in depth. I did do a few editing and publishing assignments, But using the five shot rule with the assignment would have been a big help. Most of my editing and publishing have been with photos.

I did do one video, but that was not for this class. I would have liked to shoot different shots, wide, medium, close-up, etc….with a partner.

Using iMovie or Adobe Premiere, is challenging to me. It takes me a lot of time to figure out anything to do with publishing a video. Having more experience with voice over, B-roll, and interview clips with a partner in class would have been very helpful.

Blog #3 Lab#5

The process of editing and publishing my audio story was very challenging. I spent a lot of time at the library getting help from Technology Services.

I would have felt more comfortable, if more time was spent in class explaining, Audacity, iMovie, SoundCloud and Anchor. I also would have liked more time to complete my audio story, because I spent so much time just actually learning the audio process. I lost a lot of my information, so I had to work with what I had. I lost my intro and ending music three times, I gave up. I lost one of my audio recordings, I gave up, worked with what I had.

It was not difficult to explain my concept in my audio story. I enjoyed doing research for it. I also enjoyed talking to various people who have immigrated to Michigan.

What I learned from my audio story, is the process people go through when they do a podcast. With all of the interviewing and editing, it is very time consuming. This also makes me feel more appreciative when I listen to a podcast series, because now I know the hard work that they put into their podcast episodes.

What I would do differently, is ask for more time to complete my audio story. The one thing I would do better, is include photos. Even though it is an audio story, I think pictures would be nice for the listener to look at, this way they would have available both visual and audio elements to the story. Another thing I would do different, is have better quality audio tapes, mine is definitely not up to my standards for quality work.

Also, I have asked at least ten people at the library to show me the process of a “hyper-link” Not one of them knew what I was talking about.

All in all, I liked this project, I just need more practice on the audio editing portion of it.

https://gettingmydegree.home.blog/2019/10/28/lab-5-immigrating-to-michigan-the-paperwork-trail-the-process-the-problems/

Lab. # 5 Understanding Immigration Issues

What is the process to becoming an immigrant in Michigan? Although the rules, requirements and process can easily be researched on various websites, talking to actual people who have immigrated to Michigan from other countries gives us a better understanding of the process.

What about the immigrant that immigrated 30 years ago, verses today? Are the rules different? Did they encounter more or less problems than the immigrant of today?

More than half of all immigrants in Michigan are naturalized U.S. citizens. While 342,465 immigrants (52.5 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, 124,804 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.

More than 70,000 U.S. citizens in Michigan live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

Figures and statistics can be researched all day long, but hearing the immigrants story of how they immigrated, and the process they went through, gives us a better understanding of the process to immigrating to Michigan.

In this audio series, I will be investigating the answers to the questions I have. I will go out in the community, and interview people who have actually immigrated to Michigan from other countries.

The Paperwork Trail, The Process, The Problems.

“Three Men and a Mystery” Season 1, 10 Episodes by LordanArts Extra Credit

This podcast is about the cold case murders of  J. B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett that occurred in Ozark Alabama on August 1, 1999. What makes this podcast so interesting, is after the ten episodes were completed in March of 2019, there was a break in the case, in June of 2019. John Lordan, Mike Morford and Gray Hughes, did a great job presenting this case in their ten episodes. This was their first podcast.  

On August 1, 1999, J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett were seniors in high school, they were both 17 years old. They got lost on their way to a party, they were in Beasley’s car.

The next morning, Beasley’s car was found on the side of the road. Both girls bodies were found in the trunk of the car, with gunshot wounds to their heads. Both girls were also raped.

Originally, a man named Barenten was arrested for the murders, but the DNA found on Beasley’s body did not match Barenten’s. The charges were dropped.

In 2017, the Ozark police department sought help from the FBI to solve this cold case murder. The FBI sent the DNA evidence from the crime, to a genealogy data base called Paro Bon Nano Labs. The DNA testing, resulted in a match for the killer.

The DNA match led the FBI to a man named Coley McCraney, 45 years old, from Ozark, Alabama. McCraney, was never a suspect, and was linked to the case only by DNA. On June 10,2019 McCraney was indicted on five counts of capitol murder, the state will seek the death penalty. A trial date has not yet been set.

Three Men and a Mystery were going to donate all of the proceeds from this podcast for DNA testing for the crime to Paro Bon Nano Labs. Now that DNA testing is no longer needed, the funds will go to honor the life of Beasley and Hawlett. I am excited to hear about the work Three Men and a Mystery Podcast contribute to this case.

Blog#2 About Lab#4

I enjoyed this project. Talking and spending time with people that have immigrated to the united states from other countries is exciting. To learn about other cultures, and their beliefs about how they raise their children, and the food from their country is also interesting to me.

Clawson, Michigan is a small town. I live in Clawson, and raised my son in Clawson. When my son was in school, he had a lot of friends who came from homes with parents from other countries. I loved the diverse feel to the neighborhood. There were parents from Germany, Scotland, England, Poland, and Mexico, just to name a few. My sons father is from Mexico, so my son being around families from other cultures was a good learning experience for him. My son grew up, and went to school with John Chisholm’s daughter Patricia. 

I did not have any real issues with this assignment. Although I feel that I took good pictures to represent the story telling of the person I interviewed, it would have been nice to get more pictures of different outside interests that he had.

John and his family are good people, with strong interests in diversity for the neighborhood. They have an annual diversity party, where friends and neighbors from other countries gather at their home to share a dish from their culture. It would have been nice to talk more about this event, I did include a picture about this subject.

One challenge I did have, was to write my lab in only 200 words. John is a very interesting and unique person, and has had a very interesting life. Our interview was over three hours long, so it was hard to write all about that in 200 words.  It was hard not to write 500 words about his life, which I actually did in my first draft.

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/gettingmydegree.home.blog/127