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From Dreamers in Arizona to Muslims in Michigan: Immigrant Communities Upholding Democracy

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This edition of Making Contact is Part I of our special series examining how immigrants are responding and participating in elections and politics today.

From Dreamers in Arizona to Muslims in Michigan, we’ll meet immigrant communities upholding democracy. We’ll also have a conversation with the Brennan Center for Justice President and author of the Fight to Vote, Michael Waldman about how immigrants throughout history have expanded the right to vote.


  • Elizabeth Perez, “Ellie” council assistant to the Office of Vice Mayor and councilwoman Kate Gallego
  • Kate Gallego, City of Phoenix Vice Mayor
  • Anthony Valdovinos, founder of La Machine
  • Viridiana Hernández, founding member of Team Awesome
  • Dr. Muzammil Ahmed, member of Community of Western Suburbs Mosque
  • Saber Ahmed, member of Community of Western Suburbs Mosque
  • Dr. Syed Taj, former Canton, Michigan City Council member
  • Michael Waldman, Brennan Center for Justice President and author of the “Fight to Vote.”

  • Host: Laura Flynn
  • Associate Producer: Marie Choi
  • Contributing Producers: Valeria Fernández and Renee Gross
  • Project Coordinator: Manolia Charlotin
  • Photo Credits: Valeria Fernández and Renee Gross
  • Music Credit: Ketsa, What tomorrow brings, Arbee, ambidextre, Ketsa, Where the river run
  • Special thanks: Beacon journalism crowdfunding platform and all the individuals who contributed to our campaign for our Immigrants and Elections miniseries. Thanks also to the Berwick-Degel Family foundation.


Vote-less, not voiceless: Dreamers reshape Arizona politics

Civil disobedience helped Dreamers inject new blood into the immigration reform movement in the U.S. It resulted in the creation of DACA or deferred action in 2012. It grants undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday protection from deportation and the ability to receive a work-permit.

This election cycle Dreamers are working for presidential candidates and in one city, Dreamers are pushing the envelop again, but from outside the spotlight. From civil disobedience to civic accountability, youth that can’t vote are making the voice of the Latino community heard in local politics and at the ballot box. Valeria Fernández has the story in Phoenix, Arizona.

A Michigan Mosque, mobilizing civic engagement

Religion can play a big role in politics. Many religious intuitions work to mobilize their members to vote. Politicians, like Ted Cruz, have used churches as places to announce their campaigns. But for a while, members of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan were unsure about what role their mosque should play in politics. Now that’s changing. As anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased, members of the mosque are becoming more politically involved. Renee Gross reports in Canton, Michigan.

* an earlier version incorrectly identified Ellie Perez as a co-founder of La Machine and Anthony Valdovinos as co-founder. Valdovinos is the founder of La Machine.

Author: admin

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