Reaction was swift — and somewhat predictable — to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to give 50,000 special visas over the next five
years to lure highly skilled immigrants to live and work in Detroit.
Snyder was joined by the mayor of Detroit and representatives of several companies headquartered in the bankrupt city. Unemployment in the city is about 17 percent and the key to Snyder’s proposal is the word skilled, suggesting that the people who live in the city now aren’t, and the people in the country who are, aren’t interested in moving to Detroit.
“Where else in the U.S. could you find a house or a lot for the prices you’re going to find here? It’s a good deal,” Snyder said.
The idea will need the support of the Obama administration. Snyder will fly to Washington tomorrow. There’s no precedent for giving the EB-2 visas — visas for people with exceptional skills — on a geographic basis.
But Snyder also faces pushback from those still living in the city, who might well feel pushed aside for the newcomers.
“Better Idea — lets train, invest in and hire the Detroit and Michigan needy American Citizen Residents that are already here,” one commenter at the Detroit Free Press website said. “Why can’t we do that — we don’t need anymore giveaways to immigrants. Let’s take care of Americans first!!”
Snyder had an answer to that, even before it was asked. Because the government doesn’t want to spend that kind of money.
“They made it clear they don’t have dollar resources to necessarily help, but isn’t this a great way that doesn’t involve large-scale financial contributions from the federal government to do something dramatic in Detroit?” he said at the news conference.
(h/t: Sara Meyer)