Gov. Rick Snyder said he has a goal for the city of Detroit: at least 50,000 new immigrants living and working in the city over the next five years.
Snyder is to fly to Washington, D.C., today to meet with federal immigration officials.
But before leaving, Snyder was joined this morning by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and members of the City Council members, including President Brenda Jones and Detroit’s first Latina councilwoman, Raquel Castañeda-López, whose District 6 includes southwest Detroit, which has a substantial immigrant and Latino population.
“Today’s a day about Detroit’s future, about job creation in the city of Detroit,” Snyder said, and the immigration proposal sends the message that “Detroit is open to the world.”
Snyder noted that Michigan-based Dow Chemical, Meijer stores and the home-building manufacturer Masco all were founded by immigrants.
Duggan noted that his grandfather, Patrick Duggan, migrated from Ireland to Detroit, and that he and Castañeda-López and Councilman Andre Spivey are working to create an office of immigration to support immigrants who move to the city and their entrepreneurial efforts.
The news conference was hosted this morning by the IDEAL Group, a southwest Detroit-based group of eight companies that employ 500 people. It was founded by Frank Venegas Jr., the grandson of Mexican immigrants.
The proposal dovetails with two other immigration plans Snyder offered in his State of the State speech last week: opening an Office for New Americans to attract and help immigrants better adjust to life in Michigan and designating the state as an Employer Based or EB5 center to expedite visas and permits for immigrants who want to open businesses in the state with investments of at least $500,000 and 10 employees.
“Let’s ask the federal government to change regulations to bring in highly skilled immigrants to the state,” Snyder told the Free Press on Wednesday. “We’d like to see 50,000 immigrants over five years coming to live and work in Detroit.”
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