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Gov. Whitmer proposes $8M for attorneys for asylum-seeking immigrants, 97% of whom are reportedly in the US illegally
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Gov. Whitmer proposes $8M for attorneys for asylum-seeking immigrants, 97% of whom are reportedly in the US illegally

Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan has proposed spending millions of dollars to provide legal representation to immigrants looking to claim asylum in the United States, the vast majority of whom are reportedly facing deportation because they are in the country illegally.

In fiscal year 2025, Whitmer would like to designate $8 million to provide legal assistance to immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. because they fear persecution in their home country. Some in her state have cheered the proposal. Capital News Service even claimed it could be "lifesaving."

"I get calls every day from people who need legal help, who have called every nonprofit in the state," said Sabrina Balgamwalla, the director of the Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic at Wayne State University. "I have to turn them away because our docket is full."

Capital News Service seemed to lament that, as of December, just 32% of immigration cases in Michigan involved an attorney. Without one, an applicant's chances of winning an immigration case are about 10%, Transitional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University suggested.

Elizabeth Orozco-Vasquez, the chief executive officer at Freedom House in Detroit, claimed that asylum applicants are "twice as likely" to be successful with an attorney helping them.

However, according to the top Republican in the state House, most people who request asylum in the U.S. do so only as a last resort to keep from being deported. "More than 97% of asylum seekers in fiscal year 2023 claimed asylum defensively after they were facing deportation," said state Rep. Matt Hall of Richland Township, "and most asylum claims get denied."

According to a federal government website, deportation is a process to remove "noncitizens" who have violated U.S. immigration law by violating their visa, threatening public safety, or committing a crime. In other words, they are apparently in the country illegally.

"In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer is trying to talk tough while using taxpayer-funded aid to encourage these very illegal aliens," Hall added. "First she offered them rent assistance, and now she’s hoping to pay attorneys to help them obstruct deportation."

On Monday, reporters asked Whitmer about the proposed money to provide attorneys for asylum-seekers as well as her Newcomer Rental Subsidy program, which provides $500 a month in rental assistance to some asylum-seekers and other "newcomers" for up to 12 months. "If you are here illegally, I do not believe you should have access [to those programs]," Whitmer replied.

"I know that we’ve got to reform immigration in this country. There is no question about that. It’s important that we do it in a responsible way because our economy relies [on those individuals,]" she continued.

"That is the greatest strength of our state and country."

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →