“Stateless”: Who’s Opposed to Syrian Refugees in Detroit?

2016.1.17.Stateless.MainFleeing the violent Syrian Crisis, refugees resettle in Detroit, where they face pushback from the locals of their new community. (Screengrab via 1stopmediaithaca.org / Vimeo)

Since 2011, the violent Syrian revolution against Bashar al-Assad has displaced millions of people. Terrorist groups have further added to the number of civilians fleeing the violence. Many of these refugees have relocated to the metropolitan Detroit area, where they meet both support and opposition. The film, Stateless follows the conflict between American citizens and Syrian refugees as three refugee families adapt to life in Michigan.

Produced by a group of students at Ithaca College, Stateless questions the United States’ responsibility to these refugee families – a point of contention between liberals and conservatives alike. Following the Paris attacks in November 2015, opposition to the Syrian families grew. In particular, the governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, was one of the first governors to announce opposition to the refugees.

The refugees are primarily relocated to the Dearborn and Hamtramck areas, which are known for having large Arab communities. Therefore, they received much assistance from the Syrian American Rescue Network, as well as the Muslim community in the area. Due to its large Arab community, these cities are often places of protest against Islamic fundamentalism and refugee resettlement.

The film features House Representative Tim Kelly, who sides with Gov. Rick Snyder’s announcement. In addition, Marsha B., a conservative activist, agrees with this position. Syrians who have relocated give reasoning for accepting the refugees, which is a voice largely missing from mainstream media.

STATELESS from Mike Holland on Vimeo.

Video by Erica Moriarty, Hannah Basciano, Mike Holland, Sam Dellert and Josh Margolis.

To learn more about the team, visit 1 Stop Media’s website.