WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michigan officials want to repopulate Detroit with an aggressive immigration program — a move critics call misguided and unworkable.
“This ranks right up there with Ford’s expectation that the Edsel was going to be a big seller,” said Bob Dane, communications director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has opened an Office for New Americans, with the goal of luring foreign workers and overseas capital to pump up the Motor City. The once-bustling metropolis of 1.85 million people has shriveled to 701,000, and falling.
Detroit’s unemployment rate officially is 8.3 percent, but tops 15 percent when accounting for residents who have quit looking for work. The city perennially ranks as one of the worst job markets in the country.
“For decades, Detroit has watched its manufacturing jobs exported overseas while suffering fiscal mischief at the hands of corrupt city officials,” said Dane, who grew up in the city now going through bankruptcy.
“Now Gov. Snyder wants to compound that pain by proposing to import 50,000 foreign workers to flood a sinking labor market.”
Bing Goel, head of the Office for New Americans, said Michigan wants immigrants to make a commitment to live in Detroit for five years.