Samaritas to Honor World Refugee Awareness Day with Expert Panel About Needs and Services

DETROIT – Samaritas is hosting a dynamic panel discussion to explore the best ways to keep refugees safe upon arrival to the United States. In observance of World Refugee Day, this event will feature some of the country’s top experts at 11 a.m. on Tues., June 20. Pre-registration at for this free event is required.

“The recent activity at the Southern Border has re-energized the immigration policy debate and our country’s responsibility to help these desperate people, many of whom are women and children, running from really dangerous situations,” said Mihaela Mitrofan, Director of New American Programs for Samaritas. “We have the expertise and infrastructure in place to care for these people, but it’s getting tough to service this growing population without additional financial support from our communities.”

Helping refugees thrive in communities throughout Michigan can have a positive economic and cultural impact on local communities. According to the office of Global Michigan, 84,000+ Michiganders are employed by Latino and Asian-owned businesses; $11.6 billion in sales and receipts are generated by Latino and Asian-owned businesses, and $544 million in state tax revenue is generated by Arab Americans each year. 

New worldwide conflicts and climate events are spurring influxes of new refugees fleeing to the United States for safety. Samaritas has been at the forefront of this work for nearly 100 years and is now determining the best course of action for Michigan’s newest refugees from Ukraine and Central America. A donation can help Samaritas care for all the refugees seeking safety. Just visit to help.

Emmy-winning journalist Cynthia Canty will lead the 2023 Refugee Roundtable discussion to address myths, issues around exploitation, and why refugees and other immigrants are good for Michigan. Demetrius Starling of MDHHS and Ben Cabanaw of Global Michigan & the Michigan Department of Labor, will offer updates about oversight programs to help young minors and other refugees. Visit to register.

Samaritas will also celebrate the creativity of the young refugees in its care with an online art show titled “Colorful Journeys /Viajes de Colores.” The 2023 collection will be unveiled online at during World Refugee Awareness Week.

Keep up with Samaritas New American programs at

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* Important Notice *

Earlier this year, Samaritas was under investigation by the state for allegations of abuse in our emergency shelter in Grand Rapids. We opened this shelter 26 months earlier for children from Central America crossing the border fleeing from horrible condition; we were asked to take in Afghan youth when there was no other place for them to go after the crisis in Afghanistan occurred. We accepted 19 youth in response to this request and our long-term commitment to help youth to the greatest extent possible at the time of their greatest need. Samaritas was one of several similar emergency shelters across the country asked to take in these refugee youth.

Due to the severe level of trauma they had endured, many of them required intensive therapy and counseling. As a result of the growing concern we had for the depth and breadth of those needs of the youth and the safety of our team, we made the decision to work with our referring partners to move the youth to other programs where they could access the higher level of trauma-informed care, supervision, and medical attention that they required. Due to state and federal oversight of our programs, we are unable to share specific details of the investigation but we were cleared of any abuse allegations by the state and all youth were transferred to appropriate residential placements where they could receive the care they needed. Samaritas continues to be a state and federal leader in refugee resettlement, including refugee foster care.


Please Contact:
Joe DiBenedetto
Lambert & Co.
(516) 637-0597

Matt Friedman
Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
(248) 762-1430