Making Government Work

Can an Influx of Immigrants Bolster Michigan’s Economy?

April 15, 2014
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Can an Influx of Immigrants Bolster Michigan’s Economy?
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Governor Rick Snyder is betting so.

Why are people so resistant to immigrants? After all, studies have shown that immigrants stabilize neighborhoods, and their presence correlates with a reduction of crime. Additionally, they are more than twice as likely to start their own business as people born in the United States, according to a study by the University of North Carolina. And a study in Michigan by the Immigration Policy Center suggested immigrants are six times more likely to start high-tech companies than native-born people are.

All of this is why Michigan’s governor Rick Snyder believes that an influx of talented immigrants could help reinvigorate his state. So he asked the federal government if Michigan could create its own visa program for immigrants who have the means to invest $500,000 to $1 million in starting job-creating businesses.

In April, the federal government approved the plan. Snyder told of Gary Heinlein of the Detroit News that the move is “an important step in helping harness top talent and international direct investment into the state to continue and accelerate Michigan’s comeback. Our state needs outstanding talent to help drive the new economy. Immigrants are net job creators.”

Michigan will open a regional center for EB-5 visas, an “immigrant investor” program that was implemented with the 1990 immigration act. Those who have a plan for a business that will employ 10 or more people in Michigan can apply for permanent residence. (Their family can also apply.) Projects that target areas with high unemployment will be have priority, and given that there 433 neighborhoods in the state with an unemployment rate one-and-a-half times greater than the national average, there are plenty of communities to choose from.

Snyder is putting a lot of energy behind his plan to welcome immigrants to Michigan to help his state economically. He’s also created a Michigan Office for New Americans, plus he delivered two other immigrant-related proposals during his State of the State speech in January. He’s hoping these new Americans will bring renewed energy and ideas that can return Michigan’s economy to its former powerhouse status. 

MORE: Meet the CEO Who Wants to Bring 50,000 Immigrants to Detroit 

 

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