Gov. Snyder: Lure 50,000 skilled immigrants to Detroit to reignite economy

snyder, rick
Gov. Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder said this morning that the key to reigniting Detroit’s long-stalled economy is luring 50,000 skilled immigrants to the city over the next five years.

Snyder’s initiative urges the federal government to add 50,000 employment-based visas for workers “with advanced academic degrees or those with the exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business.” To be eligible, the workers must live in Detroit.

The plan, supported by Mayor Mike Duggan, is a stark departure from former Mayor Dave Bing’s position on immigration. Bing contended there were not enough jobs for local people, let alone an influx of immigrants.

“We want the world to know that Detroit is open for business,” Snyder said. “Legal immigration helped to build this great city and is just as critical to its comeback. Immigrants create jobs and Detroit is a great value opportunity in terms of business costs and overall quality of life. The city has so much to offer anyone willing to contribute to its future. Of course, Michigan has always been a welcoming state to those wishing to call it home. We’re excited about the potential that this initiative holds for Detroit’s turnaround, and look forward to working with our federal partners to make it happen.”

Snyder said immigration is a “proven driver of job creation and economic growth,” noting that more than a quarter of all small businesses were started by immigrants in 2011. Many of those businesses are high-tech firms that pay well, the governor said.

Duggan showed his support.

“In order for Detroit to grow again, we need highly trained workers to move in, open businesses and raise their families,” Duggan said. “The governor’s plan opens the door for more skilled immigrants to thrive in Detroit’s fertile ground for economic innovation. They will create jobs and employ Detroiters.”


Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • disqus_vhLozcit3f

    I’m really wondering what the politics surrounding this are going to look like on the federal level. Leaving aside every other issue (and there are tons, such as where to house 50,000 sudden newcomers to Detroit) how are you going to get USCIS to sign on to a program that specifically benefits only one community? Wouldn’t this require an act of Congress? Or does the agency already have regulatory authority over the nature and number of visas that they issue? There’s lots of issues to work through on this, both on the local level (mechanically and logistically) and even tougher issues on the federal level, the political and legal ramifications of which are really, really complex. And Congress isn’t doing well with complex stuff these days, let alone on the more basic stuff, such as whether or not to default on the federal debt.

    I’m all for more people moving here, I just don’t know how you get the Feds to make this work.

  • Stan

    Those are gonna have to be some desperate immigrants. Living standards in much of the lesser developed world exceed those in Detroit.

    • Smartest OneHere

      Your comment is dumb.I live in Detroit and suspect my standard of living far exceeds anything you could hope for.

      Now take your hatin’ ways and hit the road.

      • Stan

        You can’t see the forest for the trees. Get a passport and visit those places we always referred to as ‘third world.’ I think you’ll be embarrassed.

  • Bob Connely

    Interesting that L. Brooks got whacked for comments made 30 years ago (and apologized for many times since), but Snyder gets away with saying, “You Black folk in Detroit are too stupid and too lazy to work for a living,” – so we’re going to bring in outsiders to support the City and you with their taxes.

  • Sizz

    Ridiculous on its face. Emperor Snyder will support anything that gives himself more power of people’s lives, regardless of how impractical it is. A pure megalomaniac.

    • Dust Buster

      oh if only jennie granholm could come back to michigan and clean up snyders mess. i know cool cities iniative would fix everything. banners, flags and rainbow painted bus stop benches is just what this region needs to come back from snyders fascism. jenni could wave her finger like mom used to and make things happen. then she would have dan mulhern eunuch bake some cookies and clean the bathrooms while she drafted another brilliant plan to turn michigan around from the grip of evil snyder.

      • queenie1

        I believe that her cool cities initiative has made a difference, look at how “cool” Detroit has become

        • Gary

          lol! yeah, real cool. How many homicides did Detroit have last year?

  • nitrodrip

    I had friends that came right out of high school and went to Motech and others that worked for firms out of high school to learn apprenticeships in engineering and architecture. Why not draw from the pool that is in the city already.