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Motor City Revival?
Detroit Rolls Out Welcome Mat for Skilled Immigrants

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder believes immigration may be the solution to some of Detroit’s woes. After pledging to support a payment of $350 million to help the city shore up its pension system and keep its art collection, Snyder announced yesterday that he will also seek federal approval for a plan that would grant visas to 50,000 highly skilled foreign workers to come and work in Detroit over the next five years. If the plan works, Snyder hopes, it could help revitalize the city and reverse the massive population decline Detroit has endured for the past half-century. The New York Times reports:

“Isn’t that how we made our country great, through immigrants?” said Mr. Snyder, a Republican, who last year authorized the state’s largest city to seek bankruptcy protection and recently announced plans to open a state office focused on new Americans.

Later, he added, “Think about the power and the size of this program, what it could do to bring back Detroit, even faster and better.”

Perhaps he should temper his optimism. The federal government has yet to receive an official proposal, and the concept of providing city-specific visas is relatively untested and potentially difficult to implement.

Still, the idea is a smart one if the city can make it work. Immigrants have always played a key role in creating dynamic and prosperous cities, and highly skilled immigrants in particular have the potential to bring new businesses and techonologies to their adopted homes. Over the past few years, studies have credited immigrants with three-quarters of university patents from top schools, while another found that each STEM immigrant creates an average of 2.62 jobs for Americans. This would be beneficial anywhere in the country, but it’s particularly needed in Detroit, which is desperate for new industries and the jobs that they bring with them.

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  • Corlyss

    More likely the skilled immigrants they’ll get will be those skilled at applying for the dole, producing loads of kids who need school feeding and don’t want to assimilate, multilculti activists, and other tax users. They already have one of the largest Muslim populations in the US. What more do they want??? Oh, wait . . . a federal bailout. Right.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    America doesn’t need anymore immigrants, it needs be released from an overwhelming Government Burden that is crushing the economy. Detroit needs to be fixed, but these attempts to somehow avoid the harsh reality that the Blue model is crashing and burning, is just stupid. With unemployment in the US so high, hiring employees is just a matter of announcing the job openings, too get 5-10 applicants for every job. So, why in the world do we need foreigners to come here to take American jobs? Over a million legal immigrants come to America every year, and over a million more illegal aliens come as well. So if Detroit is such a good place for them, how come the population is falling and it’s not being overrun by immigrants?

  • Peripatetic

    The logistics of enforcing city-specific visas would be daunting. Nevertheless, the politics of this suggestion are very interesting: a flood of talented immigrants into Detroit would surely bring new political forces into play. Would the democrats who control Detroit politics welcome these political changes?

  • Boritz

    Doing the jobs skilled Americans won’t do…

  • TommyTwo

    “grant visas to 50,000 highly skilled foreign workers to come and work in Detroit over the next five years”

    So Detroit is hoping to attract people who are ignorant or desperate enough to move to a place that Americans have deserted? How about fixing Detroit to make it attractive to Americans?

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