Metro Detroit shelters feel influx of asylum seekers

With battles between Israel and Hamas plus the Ukraine invasion by Russia continuing, more and more refugees are finding their way to Detroit.

They come to the Motor City after larger cities like Dallas, Chicago, and New York are all overwhelmed by the number of people crossing into the U.S., seeking asylum. Shelters like Freedom House are there to help – but can only do so much.

"Especially here at Freedom House, I feel as if I am home," said one asylum seeker. "I came here to save my life."

For almost forty years, Freedom House Detroit's mission has been to support and empower those seeking humanitarian protection on their journey to safety.

CEO Elizabeth Orozco-Vasquez said the mass influx of migrants coming to America is being felt across the country, including Detroit.

"We’re naturally seeing people overflow into Detroit," she said. "We are way beyond capacity. We have people sleeping on cots. In one year we typically only see 125 to go double that in one instance is huge for us."

With the growing number of people seeking refuge in Detroit, the need for resources grows too.

"We need to quickly increase capacity and we need assistance from both the government and community to be able to do so," Orozco-Vasquez said.

The money will help go to things like food and clothing. Something the asylum seeker says he doesn't have much of.

"They provide us everything: food, clothing. When I came here I only had one sock and one shoe," he said.

If you would like to donate to Freedom House Detroit, check out their website here.

Orozco-Vasquez said the answer to the influx isn't to close the borders – but to remember how we can help other people.

"I think we need to go back to remembering who we are as a nation and say yes, I need to help my neighbor in need," she said.