Immigrants and Detroit’s Rebirth

February 5, 2014. In an opinion piece that ran in the Detroit News, Andrew Wainer makes the case that immigrants can be an important part of a strategy for economic revitalization of Detroit. While the jumping-off point of the article is Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s proposal for highly skilled immigrants who would be tethered to Detroit by a geographically restricted Visa, Wainer makes the case that it’s not just highly skilled immigrants who count, and that regular immigration, without special Visas, have been an important part of the country’s economic growth since its beginnings.

In addition to supporting communities that are experiencing overall population loss, immigrants — including low-skill — are making disproportionate contributions to Rust Belt economies. Research by the Fiscal Policy Institute found that although immigrants make disproportionate contributions to the U.S. economy overall, they make even more disproportionate economic contributions based on their population in Rust Belt cities like Detroit.

As they have been throughout much of U.S. history, immigrants are also a disproportionate number of our country’s entrepreneurs and their business initiative is evident in revitalizing Rust Belt commercial corridors.

 

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