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Gov Snyder calls for new program to attract, welcome immigrants to state

Governor Rick Snyder
Photo courtesy of Gov Snyder's office
Governor Rick Snyder

Governor Snyder has said the state needs to do more to attract immigrants, and get them to stay once they’re here.

In his recent budget proposal, Governor Snyder calls for the creation of a Cultural Ambassador program to attract and welcome immigrants to the state, which is similar to a program he helped create when he worked at Ann Arbor SPARK.

Steve Tobocman heads the pro-immigration group Global Detroit. His group put out a study in 2010 that found a third of Michigan’s high tech firms were created by immigrants over the past decade. 

"When you look through that lens," says Tobocman, "you see that - particularly in Michigan - our international population has been by far a huge positive net contributor to the economic prosperity and opportunity for us all."

Some other key findings from Global Detroit's study:

  • Immigrants residing in southeast Michigan are 150 percent as likely to possess a four-year college degree than the non-immigrant population.
  • 45 percent of international patent applications from Michigan had a foreign born inventor and foreign born residents in Michigan are more than seven times as likely to file an international patent as non-immigrant residents.
  • Michigan’s foreign born were more than three times as likely as non-immigrants to start a new business between 1996 and 2007.

Under the governor’s direction, a Global Michigan Immigration Initiativewas established last year to recruit highly educated immigrants with advanced degrees to the state.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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