Even though Southwest Detroit and Hamtramck are beacons of diversity,
Detroit and Michigan could do a lot better when attracting immigrants,
which have proved to be a source of economic growth within communities.
"To have a strong Detroit, a strong Southeast Michigan, immigrants are
a necessary component," Tobocman says. "We need a welcome mat for these
citizens, housing services, and employer services. We're thinking on
what some of these out-of-the-box strategies could be for immigration
Global Detroit began in March of this year and Tobocman says they've
already discussed dozens upon dozens of strategies, some of which have
already been implemented in other states. Ideas like welcoming centers
for new Michiganders, internship programs to retain foreign students
after college graduation, or a regional center that pools foreign
investment (of $500k or more) for local development -- which would
create American jobs -- in return for a visa (called the EB-5).
As Southeast Michigan stands now, and for most of the Rustbelt for that
matter, there aren't any honest to goodness strategies in place.
Efforts haven't gotten past a welcome center in Detroit's Mexicantown
and one recently instituted in Philadelphia. These centers give new
immigrants soft landings into communities and urban areas, plugging
them in as much as possible.
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Additionally, Wayne State University is hosting a film event playing
"Regional Roots" that will discuss Detroit's 300 years of history and
how immigrants helped shape what the city is today.
Get more information here
. A trailer for the film can be found here