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N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg recommends encouraging immigrants to locate in Detroit

In an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested that Detroit could be helped by a federal policy to encourage immigrants to locate there.

The Associated Press reports:

“Take a look at the big, old, industrial cities, Detroit, for example,” he said. “They’ve got a great mayor, Mayor (Dave) Bing, but the population has left. You’ve got to do something about that. And if I were the federal government, assuming you could wave a magic wand and pull everybody together, you pass a law letting immigrants come in as long as they agreed to go to Detroit and live there for five or ten years. Start businesses, take jobs, whatever.”

Detroit has seen its population fall from 1.8 million in the 1950 U.S. Census to 714,000 in 2010. The population dropped 26 percent in the last decade alone.

“You would populate Detroit overnight because half the world wants to come here,” Bloomberg said. “We still are the world’s greatest democracy. We still have hope that if you want to have a better life for yourself and your kids, this is where you want to come.”

The Detroit News reports that Detroiters have mixed reactions to Bloomberg’s suggestion. Some feel that adding residents is sure to bring economic advantages while others say that it’s crazy to encourage people to move to a city with few existing job opportunities. Some point out that immigrants are already responsible for a large portion of the businesses that are growing in Detroit.

In his first state of the state address Gov. Rick Snyder said that immigrants benefit Michigan and should be welcomed but he has not produced any specific recommendations for policies to promote immigration.

Earlier this month immigrant rights activists asked officials to investigate reports of a pattern of racial and civil rights abuse by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents in Detroit.

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