Repopulating Doomsville: Detroit & US Migration

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 2/05/2014 11:01:00 AM
Followers of international migration know that there is a movement among traditional migrant-receiving nations, usually Anglophone countries Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, to steer migrants away from overcrowded gateways into less-populated areas short on labor. In other words, your chances of successfully petitioning for permanent residency are greater in, say, Toowoomba instead of Brisbane.

In the United States, something similar is happening as authorities are interested in managing demography. Instead of packing people off to [zzzzz] New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, why not send them where they are needed like, say, Detroit? To you and me it may be a terrible instance of urban decay that is in its death throes via depopulation and bankruptcy. For others, however, it is a prime example of the Land of Opportunity. The Arab American News has an interesting article along these lines as a Polish immigration lawyer says there is no better time than now to attain permanent residence in, er, Detroit:
Every year, millions of immigrants celebrate the New Year with their own traditions. For our family, it is a ham, kielbasa, horseradish, stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut and pierogis, which are a traditional Polish dishes. And each year, like billions of people around the world, we look forward to the new year with a list of hopes, dreams and resolutions.

If you are a legal permanent resident eligible for American citizenship, there is no better time than 2014 to resolve to become a citizen. As someone who has spent years working with Arab-American immigrants here in Detroit, my own resolution is to help as many of them as possible here in Detroit to take the necessary steps toward citizenship with the New Americans Campaign.

Your community is larger than you might think. Michigan is home to 130,000 lawful permanent residents who could become citizens.
The New Americas Foundation provides advice to those wishing to become naturalized US citizens. As a person championing the free flow of persons around the world in addition to goods, services and investment, I wish them well. However, they of course encounter strong political headwinds via assorted racist-protectionist forces that are unfortunately still prominent in this so-called melting pot. 

Still, I do not necessarily find the idea of steering immigrants towards certain communities objectionable. If you want to live the American Dream, you have to start somewhere--even if somewhere may be Detroit. Moreover, who am I to say that Arab Americans and others do not have what it takes to revive this once-great American town? Others have given up on Detroit, but some still persist since they do see something of value you and I cannot. There is no real downside to giving them an opportunity.