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Stateside: ICE releases Iraqi detainees; toxic cleanup bill gets rewrite; a year in Michigan sports

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
A U.S. District Judge recently ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release Iraqi detainees who were held in police custody for nearly a year and a half.

Today on Stateside, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan gives an update on the approximately 100 Iraqi immigrants who were detained in police custody for nearly a year and a half before a U.S. District Judge ordered their release last month. Plus, the lawyer representing residents in the Rockford area whose water was contaminated with PFAS weighs in on Senate Bill 1244, which would overhaul Michigan's standards for cleaning up toxic chemicals. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

ACLU: ICE is releasing Iraqis it has imprisoned since summer of 2017

Stateside’s conversation with Miriam Aukerman

  • On November 20th, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ordered the release of Iraqi immigrants who had been held in police custody for nearly a year and a half, accusing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of using delay tactics and making “demonstrably false statements to the Court.” Miriam Aukerman is with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. She joined Stateside to talk about what conditions were like for the detainees, whether those who have been released still face the threat of deportation, and what’s next for the lawsuit against ICE. 

Bacon: Looking back on a year of Michigan sports

Stateside’s conversation with John U. Bacon

  • John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator joined us to sum up this year in Michigan sports. He reflects on the highs and lows of the Lions’ performance this season and gives his take on the institution of bowl games as the Michigan Wolverines prepare for the Peach Bowl and Michigan State gets ready to face the Oregon Ducks in the Redbox Bowl.

Mona Haydar’s music asks listeners to “decolonize” their minds

Stateside’s conversation with Mona Haydar

  • Mona Haydar is a poet, activist, feminist, and rapper. She talked to Stateside's Mercedes Mejia about her latest EP, Barbarician, her roots in Flint, and the experiences and identities that shape her music. 

Believed Epilogue: No Pretty Bows

Stateside’s conversation with Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith

  • Kate Wells and Lindsey Smith are the co-hosts of Believed, a podcast from Michigan Radio and NPR that explores how disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar got away with sexually abusing hundreds of women and girls under the guise of medical treatment for decades. They joined Stateside to talk about the final episode of the series, their experiences working on this project over the past year, and the biggest lesson that they think we can all learn from Believed.

UM laboratory shows students, parents the real world value of a humanities education 

Stateside’s conversation with Nick Henriksen and Colleen Buckley

  • In recent years, the liberal arts have been overshadowed by programs in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields amid the perception that the humanities don’t offer practical, “real life” skills. But one initiative at the University of Michigan called the Michigan Humanities Collaboratory is working to change that. Nick Henriksen is an associate professor of Spanish linguistics, and Colleen Buckley was an undergraduate researcher in Henriksen’s humanities lab. They break down some of the research being done at the Collaboratory, how they think their work is changing the image of the humanities, and what they would say to students considering a humanities major. 

Lame duck bill on toxic clean-up criteria has been changed, but still restricts use of latest science

Stateside's conversation with A. J. Birkbeck

  • Senate Bill 1244, which would overhaul state standards for cleaning up toxic chemicals like PFAS at thousands of contaminated sites across Michigan, is currently making its way through the state's lame-duck legislature. The legislation would forbid the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality from using the latest science when determining when a water supply has been polluted, including recent PFAS limits recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • A. J. Birkbeck is managing attorney with Fulcrum Law in Grand Rapids and represents residents in the Rockford area whose water has been contaminated by PFAS. He updates us on recent changes made to the bill and why he thinks the proposed bill limits the state's ability to protect public health. 

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