Fact Sheet: Encouraging Immigration in Michigan

We need to encourage immigration in Michigan. That’s how we made our country great.” – Governor Rick Snyder

In order to help Michigan’s economy grow stronger, Governor Snyder has called for reforms to welcome legal immigrants to Michigan, including an expansion of visas for the City of Detroit and the creation of the Michigan Office for New Americans to welcome immigrants to our state.

Attracting Highly Skilled Immigrants to Detroit

Detroit is one of America’s great cities, yet today it is struggling amidst bankruptcy and a population that has dropped from over 1.8 million in 1950 to 700,000 today. Immigrants were key to the city’s greatness, and immigration can play a critical role in its comeback.

How Immigration Can Help: Governor Snyder has called for the federal government to designate an additional 50,000 employment-based visas for skilled immigrants and entrepreneurs during the next five years. The visas would seek to attract highly-skilled, entrepreneurial, legal immigrants who commit to living and working in Detroit, thereby contributing to its economic and population growth.

Immigrants are Job Creators: Immigrants with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are powerful job creators. In fact, research shows that “an additional 100 foreign-born workers in STEM fields with advanced degrees from US universities is associated with an additional 262 jobs among U.S. natives.”*

Here’s another sign that impacts have a powerful impact on our economy. In 2011, 28% of small businesses were founded by immigrants, and seven out of ten of the most valuable brands in the world were created by U.S. immigrants or their children. Here in Michigan, the successful companies Dow, Meijer, and Masco were founded by immigrants, and over the last decade, immigrants created one-third of the high-tech businesses in our state, at a rate six times the rest of the population. In short, immigrants are proven job creators, and Michigan can benefit from their entrepreneurial spirit by welcoming them to Detroit.

Creating the Michigan Office for New Americans

Governor Snyder announced at the 2014 State of the State Address that he will sign an executive order creating the Michigan Office for New Americans to make sure that immigrants know our state is an inviting place.

The Michigan Office for New Americans will coordinate the state’s efforts to welcome immigrants and their entrepreneurship; lead efforts to encourage foreign students getting advanced degrees to stay in Michigan, build companies here, and employ Michiganders; and ensure that needed agricultural and tourism workers come to our state. The office will also help coordinate existing services to immigrants and facilitate partnerships with non-profits, foundations and the private sector in the areas of licensing, workforce training, education, housing, healthcare and quality of life.

* “Immigration and American Jobs “ by the American Enterprise Institute and Partnership for a New American Economy, December 2011