First generation immigrant finds community in Fox Valley


Across the county, and right here in Wisconsin, immigration is a hot topic. Last month, the Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision in United States v. Texas now leaves millions of undocumented immigrants in limbo and in fear of deportation, because the laws are unclear about expanding protections those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, meaning undocumented immigrants who had been brought to this country as children and are now young adults.

In 2015, the Obama administration announced an expanded Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.

Wisconsin has traditionally been a state that has accepted resettled populations of refugees. Here’s one story from Love Wisconsin that showcases a family’s journey to finding home, community in the Fox Valley:

Michael: I had come to the United States as a Fulbright scholar and went to the University of Minnesota. In ’95, when I was in Minnesota, I went to an event called the Promise Keepers, something that taught men to be good husbands. I went there with 60,000 other men in the Metrodome. By providence, I sat next to a gentleman from Neenah, Wisconsin. I didn’t know anything about Wisconsin, I hadn’t ever heard of Neenah. Over the next 3 days of the event we became good friends and shared pictures of our families, exchanged addresses, then left. At the end of my Fulbright year I went back home to Cameroon.

Then, a few years later, we had the opportunity to return to the United States as immigrants and we decided to move to the midwest. We arrived in Chicago and I wrote a letter to my friend in Neenah. We talked. He said, “Michael, you’re here now?” I said, “Yeah! With my entire family now.” He said, “I don’t believe you.” I said, “Well, that is the truth.”

Patience: Then his wife called and said, “It’s going to get cold, do you need anything?” It was in November. We told her we brought a few warm things. She said “What do you need?” It’s like, you need everything, how do you ask somebody to give you something. We said we were just planning to get along gradually. She said, “We’ll just put together what we can.”

For more, visit Love Wisconsin.