Michigan Pushes Plan to Welcome Immigrants and their Revitalizing Power

detroitWhile some states pushed for punitive immigration measures over the last year — measures designed to drive immigrants away — others, like those in Michigan, were busy putting together a plan that welcomes immigrants and their revitalizing power to the state. This month, leaders in Michigan — including state Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit) — helped launch “Welcoming Michigan,” a statewide initiative that seeks to welcome immigrants and their entrepreneurial talents to Michigan.

A project of the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and Welcoming America, Welcoming Michigan brings together community, city and business leaders, clergy, and charitable organizations “to raise the level of discourse around immigration” and “promote an understanding of the contributions that immigrants make to the U.S.”  Welcoming Michigan is also a partner to Global Detroit, an initiative launched last year that seeks to “revitalize southeast Michigan’s economy by pursuing strategies that strengthen Detroit’s connections to the world.”  Michigan joins 19 others states in welcoming immigrants, including Ohio whose recent “Welcome Dayton Plan” has garnered national attention as a model for other states.

U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit), whose father emigrated from Bangladesh, supports the program and wants to remind people that immigrants are an economic boon to the state—a state which faced a $767 million budget gap in 2012. According to Rep. Clarke:

“Michigan is welcoming immigrants, [but we’re] also welcoming jobs and investments, and more importantly, welcoming hope and opportunity to this country — what this city has stood for many decades and now can stand again.”

While proponents of harsh immigration laws falsely believe that forcing immigrants out of the state “will free up jobs for Americans,” Welcoming America points out that in an aging America, booting immigrants from the state means a “smaller gross state product, smaller revenue bases for the state shrinking budgets, and smaller local markets for products and services produced in the state … a smaller population base means a poorer, weaker, and less competitive Michigan.” In fact, Standard and Poor’s Rating Service reported this week that cities with high numbers of foreign born saw tax bases grow and per-capita income increase.

Immigrants who live in Michigan are already contributing to the state’s economy. They accounted for 11% of total economic output in the Detroit metropolitan area as of 2007 and comprised 6.8% of the state’s workforce. Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration found that the foreign born were more than three times as likely as non-immigrants to start a new business. Last year, according to CNN Money, “immigrants created 28% of all new firms.”

Immigrants have and will continue to contribute to the U.S., both economically and culturally. Hopefully, leaders across America will recognize these contributions and adopt a more welcoming attitude. As Susan Reed, campaign organizer at Welcoming Michigan, put it:

seth hoy“Being welcoming is not only the right thing to do, it’s really in all of our interest,” Reed said. “I think our goal will be met if immigrants continue to come to Michigan, make Michigan their home, start businesses here, feel welcome and feel comfortable.”

Seth Hoy
Immigration Impact

Posted: Saturday, 19 May 2012


  1. says

    Hopefully, leaders across America will recognize these contributions…

    Business leaders and the politicians they bribe recognize that immigrants are their ticket out of the workers rights we’ve gained in the past century. No child labor in America? No problem, other countries are happy to provide that service. Workplace safety rules? Worker’s compensation taxes? Anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws? That’s an American phenomenon that has cut into corporate profits for far too long! Why pay those union members a living wage when the world has millions of hungry people willing to work for a pittance? Companies have no intention of sharing profits with American workers if they can get away with hiring other “non-demanding” employees.
    They started with Bill Clinton’s NAFTA and other “free trade” agreements that ensured cheap labor for big business. But factories in foreign countries don’t benefit from the American middle class tax base subsidizing corporate profits with free roads and police services. So now companies are finagling ways to bring that cheap labor pool into the US. Illegal aliens have been a good resource for years, until the American taxpayers got tired of paying for the medical care, food and housing of illegal aliens and their children. Now that some taxpayers are demanding the government stop supporting illegal aliens, companies are trying to find legal ways to hire non-citizens who would be happy to work for much less than American workers accept.
    Unfortunately, liberals and progressives are getting suckered into supporting their own demise, and that of our children who will have to compete with the world’s cheap labor forces imported into our own country. “Welcoming America” is simply the latest way companies and dishonest politicians trick Americans into accepting both legal and illegal aliens replacing American workers. Progressives are fooled into thinking they’re doing something “nice” for the world. In reality, all they’re doing is helping big business get rich by hiring people willing to take jobs from working Americans. What a bunch of suckers.

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