Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Keating: Michigan governor wants Rust Belt visas

By Joshua Keating

Slate

First Published Jan 29 2014 12:18 pm • Last Updated Jan 29 2014 12:23 pm
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan is planning to ask for federal approval for a plan aimed at "bringing 50,000 immigrants to the bankrupt city [of Detroit] over five years."

Under the plan, immigrants coming to the U.S. under visas aimed at those with "advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in science, business or the arts" would be "required to live and work in Detroit, a city that has fallen to 700,000 residents from 1.8 million in the 1950s."

Brandon Fuller of New York University’s business school meanwhile suggests that rather than giving Detroit a share of existing EB-2 visas, as Snyder is suggesting, the federal government should make additional visas available for state-based programs.

Shikha Dalmia, writing at Reason, is skeptical about the idea, writing that "Immigrants aren’t pioneers whose survival depends on conquering an inhospitable frontier. Yes, they can put up with far greater hardship than the native-born, but they aren’t clueless ingenues who are easily seduced. They have word-of-mouth networks that alert them to places that offer them the best economic and social fit, making it difficult to plunk them anywhere and expect results."

There’s also the problem that a legal mechanism doesn’t currently exist to force recipients to remain in Detroit once they arrive. This has been an issue in Canada, where a similar plan has been tried at the provincial level.

It’s true that immigrants aren’t a magic elixir that will make the urban desert bloom. But the plan proposed by Snyder, a Republican, comes amid proposals by a number of struggling Rust Belt cities to attract their "fair share" of immigrants. If a number of states set up similar programs, they would still have to compete to make themselves attractive to new arrivals.

It’s not a magic bullet, and comprehensive reform at the national level still seems preferable. But absent that, it seems worth giving cities like Detroit the opportunity to try.


story continues below
story continues below

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international news, social science and related topics. He was previously an editor at Foreign Policy magazine.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.