Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is proposed an unprecedented immigration initiative that he says will bring jobs back to Detroit, but critics see the move as a stealth way to dilute Detroit’s Black population.
The plan, as outlined by the Republican governor and backed by Detroit’s new Democrat Mayor Mike Duggan, would use a visa system known as EB-2 (Employment-Based, second preference) to bring 50,000 highly skilled and educated foreign workers to Detroit.
Snyder is currently in Washington, DC, meeting with federal immigration officers in an effort to judge his plan’s feasibility and, presumably, garner support within the political circles.
Snyder has said that immigration is “how we made our country great,” rationalizing that a highly skilled workforce can jump-start Detroit’s economy, but critics point out that while such an idea may be good in theory, it does nothing for the city’s current residents who are still struggling with high crime, unemployment, and inferior education.
“There’s something oddly defeatist about saying: Our citizens have been done wrong for so long, let’s bring in Chinese and Indians,” says The New York Times Editorial Board in a piece published yesterday.
The Voice of Detroit, a news blog based in and about Detroit is calling the plan “Operation Afro-Dilution” and criticizing the Governor for trying to get rid of the city’s struggling African American population by bringing in well-paid foreigners.
“Corporate ethnic manipulators like Snyder want to indoctrinate a new crop of immigrants to the inherent inferiority of Black Americans, whose cities must be saved by culturally superior foreigners” writes Glen Ford, editor of the Black Agenda Report.
Ford argues the governor’s plan is based on a racist perception of Black American’s as undesirable inhabits. The the infusion of global migrants would enable Detroit’s corporations to market the metropolis as cosmopolitan, erasing Detroit’s notoriety as the nation’s largest “chocolate city”. As it turns out, Detroit isn’t the only mid-western city contemplating this approach. Chicago, St. Louis, and Dayton are also in the process of attaching a premium to educated immigrants.
Research links economic empowerment to the entrepreneurial success of a community. There’s no doubt Detroit’s blighted economy requires a certain entrepreneurial zeal to turn around, but once again, Blacks are being denied the opportunity to chart their own economic fate. In my opinion, that’s the real tragedy here.
Detroit’s depressed economy and depressed real estate prices have created once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for entrepreneurs. Dan Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans, has already invested $1 Billion downtown. And there’s a slew of young, hip entrepreneurs who are buying up homes and setting up businesses in Detroit, a city’s whose bankruptcy has left it without many basic services (including a public transportation). Yet Detroit’s 83% Black population is largely being left out of this revitalization.
That of course is nothing new. Take a drive down any urban street and you will find businesses owned by everyone but African-Americans. There are liquor stores, corner stores, and dollar stores, pawn shops, beauty supply stores, and Chinese food restaurants all owned and operated by immigrants who’ve received ample government support for their endeavors. At the same time, the average Black business owner who wants to set up shop in the inner city struggles to secure a bank loan. The government has historically lured immigrants into Black neighborhoods, supplying them with the resources necessary to establish small businesses, as a means of hindering Black entrepreneurship and financial solidarity.
What Governor Snyder is doing may be unprecedented in scale, but it nothing new. Still, it would be nice if Detroit could empower the residents who’ve been there for generations to take part in it’s epic revitalization.
Ayesha is a writer, dancer, and the founder of WomenLovePower.com, a tech-enabled brand that provides resources on charm, seduction, sacred sexuality, and feminine warfare. A self-confessed afromantic, Ayesha's first love is romantic fiction and poetry. When away from her keyboard, she enjoys New Jack Swing throwbacks, 90's sitcoms, running, sleep, and Cabernet.
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