Involved in a major effort to overhaul some of its industries, Michigan is touting itself as one of the most pro-immigration states in the nation.
Calling himself the most pro-immigration governor in the country, Republican Rick Snyder has repeatedly urged Congress to ease regulations for green cards and citizenship applications for foreign workers. Synder, the former chairman of the computer manufacturer Gateway, has surprised many other GOP government officials with his stance.
While other Republicans embrace the idea of welcoming skilled immigrants into the American workforce, Snyder wants to push this idea even further. With H-1B visa caps set at 20,000 annually, Synder believes that the number should be raised to 65,000. Additionally, Snyder believes that Congress should completely eliminate these caps for foreign individuals who receive advanced degrees from U.S. universities.
With current regulation also stating that green cards can be given to foreign individuals who can supply $1 million in capital and create 10 jobs, Snyder believes this requirement is too high, and immigrants should only have to pay $500,000 and stimulate the growth needed for five jobs to earn their green card through this method.
“[Immigrants] are not taking jobs, they’re creating jobs,” said Snyder during a recent interview at the North American International Auto Show.
Michigan’s welcoming attitude towards incoming residents is anything but new. According to the Detroit News, during the 19th century, the state was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, and today supports one of the largest African-American populations of any northern state, at 14 percent of the populace. The auto industry attracted residents of the United States from their Southern homes to Michigan in the 20th century, with many finding more stable work in the state than was available back home.