Immigrant from Mexico shares his journey to Lansing
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Thousands of refugees from around the world call Lansing home. The journey to the United States is a long and tough process and refugee organizations work together to help make it easier.
Felipe Lopez Sustaita, an immigrant from Mexico, now serves as the Associate Dean of Lansing Community College.
“When I was little, there were no pavement roads, there was no electricity and it’s still very humble. People are still walking around, carrying water on their backs,” said Sustaita.
Like others, Sustaita came to the United States to live the American dream.
“Things in Mexico are very poor when you’re from a village like that so they came up here to work and (as) farm workers.”
His family picked vegetables and fruits on a farm in Texas. He was very little upon arrival and it wasn’t until the age of 6, he received documentation.
After moving around to different states, he settled in Michigan after the passing of his dad.
“I made a promise to him that when he passed away, I would achieve the highest education and that’s kind of what’s kept me here,” said Sustaita.
Michigan is also where he met his wife and started a family with four kids. They now call Lansing home. “Something that makes Michigan unique and very powerful is when we accept people from everywhere.”
“If you turn around a lot of your neighbors could’ve come from many places outside of Lansing, and many it’s global and maybe it’s just another state,” said Erika Brown-Binion.
Erika Brown-Binion is the Executive Director at the Refugee Development Center which is geared towards helping refugees and immigrants become part of the community.
“We serve as a bridge for refugees, newcomers, anyone who has arrived in our community that needs a little bit of extra support,” said Brown-Binion.
Sustaita’s goal is to create a better life for his family. Every day, he holds a piece of his dad to help.
“I tell people my father’s ceiling is my floor and that’s what I want. that’s what drives me. I have four boys and I want my ceiling to be their floor,” said Sustaita.
He added he wants to give hope to others.
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