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Gov. Snyder: Immigrants make Michigan a stronger, more vibrant state

 Twenty-five people become Americans in Capitol ceremony

Twenty-five people become Americans in Capitol ceremony

 Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013

LANSING, Mich. – Twenty-five people entered the Michigan State Capitol on Wednesday as citizens of 18 countries, but left as Americans – and Michiganders.

The ceremony was co-hosted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, with the U.S. Federal Court Judge Robert Jonker presiding.

 “Michigan is proud of its diversity and rich history of immigrants who helped build our state,” Snyder said. “We must create welcoming communities that leverage the full potential of all who live there, capitalizing on different perspectives, cultures and talents for knowledge, creativity and innovation to thrive.”

 This year about 13,400 people in Michigan will take the oath of American citizenship. About a dozen naturalization ceremonies are performed in Michigan each month.

 Snyder said people come to Michigan because they see the opportunities for education, high-skill jobs and an entrepreneurial spirit to start their own business.

 About 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or children of immigrants, and 32 percent of Michigan’s high-tech startups between 1990 and 2005 had an immigrant founder.

 “It’s possible that one of the people becoming a citizen today could be the next Meijer, Dow, Vlasic or Ford – great Michigan companies started by immigrants or children of immigrants,” Snyder said. “Our success has always been the product of our unique capacity to welcome the contributions and spirit of entrepreneurship of all people.”