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Gov. Snyder wants to attract immigrants ready to start businesses

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Governor Rick Snyder tells the 'World Affairs Council of Western Michigan' he wants immigrants with talent and money who are willing to invest in the United States to come to Michigan.

Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to attract more foreign entrepreneurs to the state. Snyder told a gathering of “The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan” he’d would like to leverage a federal immigration program to attract new jobs and investments.

The EB-5 immigration program

Under the program (Congress passed in 1990), immigrants who’ve invested at least $500,000 in a business that creates at least 10 full-time jobs can apply for green cards. That allows them to live and work in the United States permanently.

Snyder says he realizes there are a lot of people who are against inviting more immigrants into the U.S. “They tend to think we should push people away from other places," Snyder said, "That’s not right. That’s what made our country great.”

Snyder says Dow Chemical and the Meijer retail chain are examples – both were founded by immigrants.

It’s easier (its a $500,00 threshold instead of $1 million) to get an EB-5 green card if an immigrant invests in an area with high unemployment. Snyder hopes to create a state program that would make “Michigan a landing place” for those E-B-5 immigrants.

A side note on President Obama's American Jobs Act

Meanwhile, Snyder says he supports some of the concepts in President Obama’s American Jobs Act.

This week Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will make stops in Michigan to promote the $450 billion jobs bill. Snyder says he supports Obama’s proposal to cut payroll taxes for small businesses and end corporate tax loopholes.  

“We should have a reasonable discussion (about the bill),” Snyder said. “That’s one of the things that drives me crazy; one of the things that drove me to run for office – the American political system being based on divisiveness is not a solution for anyone.”

Snyder says he also supports investing in some key infrastructure projects to boost the economy. But he also warned the federal government needs to pay down long-term debt.

Specifically, he took the opportunity to urge Michigan lawmakers to approve building the New International Trade Crossing. Advocate say the proposed bridge from Detroit to Windsor, Ontario wouldn’t cost Michigan taxpayers any money.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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