Immigration: Why is this governor so pro-immigration?’s tough immigration laws and border fence are designed to keep out immigrants, but Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder wants more immigrants to move to the Wolverine State. In fact, he calls himself the most pro-immigration governor in the nation.

Why does he want to attract immigrants?

One reason: job creation. Immigrants started a third of all new high-tech businesses created in Michigan during the last decade, according to Global Michigan, the initiative the governor established to make Michigan a friendly place for immigrant entrepreneurs. Immigrants accounted for only 14% of new high-tech startups in Ohio. The difference, it seems, is that Michigan universities have been better at enabling immigrants to turn their education and ideas into businesses.

Snyder has a very special type of immigrant in mind that he wants to come to Michigan and stay: foreign entrepreneurs with loads of money to invest in new-business creation and foreign students who get advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math. The acronym STEM is used to indicate these four high-tech programs. In both cases, immigrants can (under certain conditions) earn a green card granting them permanent residence.

Attracting foreigners to invest money and create jobs is already part of a federal program called the EB-5 Visa Program. Snyder wants to tap into this program and direct investors to Michigan. A green card program for foreign students who stay and start businesses is still in the proposal stage. Right now, foreign students in high-tech fields who get their education in Michigan have to return home to start new businesses—and can end up competing with American companies.

Do you agree with Snyder’s premise?

Should we offer a green card for investments, startups & job creation?

What about students who are not among the four STEM disciplines?


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Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.

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