Governor Snyder and other leaders talked immigration and Michigan’s economic future at a conference in Detroit. Organizers say they want to change the conversation about immigrants and the economy. They maintain immigration is a key driver of economic growth. Former Detroit State Representative Steve Tobocman leads the pro-immigration policy group Global Detroit, and spearheaded a study that outlined how Michigan’s economy benefits from immigration. He says immigrants are more likely to be entrepreneurs—and in Michigan, they’re more likely than others to be college-educated. He says the state already has some other big advantages, too.
“In Michigan--this is an incredible statistic--almost a full third of the high-tech businesses over the past ten years were started by immigrants. Our state ranks third in this category in the entire country.”
Tobocman says he hopes the conference will promote a more positive view of immigration, and spur Michigan to become a more immigrant-friendly state.
Governor Snyder says the state needs to do more to attract immigrants, and get them to stay once they’re here.
And Snyder says Michigan needs to get over what he calls its “shrinking pie” mindset about immigrants, the economy and jobs.
“They bring jobs. And make no mistake about it. They are job creators. And we should be embracing that.”
Snyder gave a broad outline of what he’s calling the state’s “Global Michigan Initiative” to do just that. He also called the kind of anti-immigration laws passed in states like Arizona “unfortunate” and “divisive.”