Relevant, timely, unique, insightful, visionary. This is some of the reaction to UDM's recent Law Review symposium entitled, Global Michigan: Immigration and Economic Growth, which featured Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R-MI) as the keynote speaker. U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) also provided his singular perspective as the son of an immigrant, and leading policymakers and distinguished academics drawn from across the U.S. and Canada discussed how Detroit and Michigan could best use immigration as a tool of economic development.
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The UDM Law Review symposium stepped away from the heated debates over border security and undocumented immigration and examined, in depth, how immigration can significantly enhance the economic well-being of all residents of Detroit and Michigan. Governor Snyder delivered a clear message to immigrants: "Please come here." Governor Snyder's remarks echoed the theme of the UDM symposium that bringing more immigrants into the state is one of the keys to driving economic growth. "People think they're taking jobs," Governor Snyder said, "but the reality is that they create jobs." He also noted, "Immigration and economic development, they go hand in hand. Open the welcome mat."
Professor David Koelsch of UDM Law, who helped organize the forum, said the event was done to "focus on immigrants as a positive force" for Detroit and Michigan. Michigan is the only state to have lost population over the last decade, and immigrants play an important role in developing the area. "Michigan is poised to take full advantage of the economic benefits of immigration," said Koelsch, and he noted that "UDM and our other universities attract the best and brightest international students, Michigan is home to dozens of large multinational corporations with global workforces, and Michigan offers a quality of life and affordability that is very attractive to foreign nationals." As with UDM's leading role in the Detroit Works/Detroit Future City project, the symposium demonstrates UDM's commitment to the economic, social, and cultural well-being of Detroit and Michigan.