Gabriela Santiago-Romero

DETROIT, June 2023: During the month of June, members of Detroit’s diverse immigrant communities celebrated Immigrant Heritage Month with a resolution passed by Detroit City Council. 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 recent US Census estimates, there are about 36,000 foreign-born residents living in Detroit. 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.

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. Although there are some neighborhoods with sizable and recognizable immigrant populations, for example longstanding communities in southwest Detroit or Banglatown, immigrants live across the city and in every district. Whether they arrived a generation ago or recently, immigrants and refugees contribute to the fabric of the city socially, culturally, and economically.

“As a proud immigrant from Mexico, I understand first hand the challenges and opportunities immigrants face in the city of Detroit,” said Detroit City Council Member Gabriela Santiago-Romero, Co-Chair of the Detroit Immigration Task Force. “I’m honored to serve as the first Mexican immigrant on 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.”

“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.”

In June the Detroit Immigration Task Force also celebrated Caribbean American Heritage Month and World Refugee Day.