Detroit Activists Call For Illegal Immigrants To Be Housed In Private Homes

With increasingly limited capacity in shelters, Detroit activists are calling for community members to house illegal immigrants in their private homes.

The African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs, a group that provides help to African immigrants trying to settle in the U.S., is struggling with the worsening crisis. Seydi Starr, the group’s founder, told the Detroit News that Detroit has been working since last year to provide support for migrants, but the crisis is worse than ever.

“We have seen the lack of supportive services for that specific community primarily working with Black immigrants,” Starr said. “… We have been working to secure the understanding that these people are here, and something needs to be done about it.”

However, David Bowser, chief of housing solutions and support systems at Detroit’s Housing and Revitalization Department, says that “ … we stay in daily touch with our homeless outreach agencies to manage Detroit’s homeless population” and that “… these efforts have continued to successfully prevent Detroit from experiencing tent cities popping up as has been seen in other communities.”

Starr, however, disagrees, saying that “The only reason tents aren’t lined up along Woodward Avenue is because of community members who have been stepping up to help.”

Starr goes on to explain that community members have been taking immigrants off the streets and housing them in their private homes, saying that “Some people have 12, 18, 20 people in their homes.”

“Every day, we’ll get a call from a driver who picked up someone at the airport, and the driver tells us the man hasn’t eaten in two days and doesn’t have a place to stay. It’s on us to find out who has space.”

Furthermore, Elizabeth Orozco-Vasquez, the executive director of Freedom House Detroit, told CBS News that “We’re seeing far and above what we typically see, I would say double.”

She says that the facility typically holds around 60 immigrants, but now has over 100. Freedom House Detroit is the only migrant resource in Detroit that provides shelter.

Meanwhile, President Biden is requesting $14 billion in funding from Congress to spend on housing illegal immigrants in hotels all across the country.