DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – What to do with refugees from war-torn Syria? Send them to Detroit!
That’s the message Thursday from a Stanford University political science professor in the New York Times.READ MORE: Michigan Matters: Impacting Health & Well-Being Across Metro Region
David Laitin writes in an opinion piece titled “Let Syrians Settle Detroit” that refugees traumatized by war usually turn out to be good citizens.
“Suppose these two social and humanitarian disasters were conjoined to produce something positive,” Laitin says.
Laitin notes that Syrians have set up thousands of shops at a refugee camp in Jordan and writes that Detroit’s large American Arab population would help them assimilate.
He also points out that Gov. Rick Snyder has been pushing for immigration as a way to revitalize Detroit — in 2014 calling for an infusion of 50,000 immigrants and signing an executive order creating a Michigan Office for New Americans.READ MORE: Detroit Police Department To Host Drive-Up Candy Stations On Oct. 31 At All Precincts
“Syrian refugees would be an ideal community to realize this goal, as Arab-Americans are already a vibrant and successful presence in the Detroit metropolitan area. A 2003 survey by the University of Michigan of 1,016 members of this community (58 percent of whom were Christian, and 42 percent Muslim) found that 19 percent were entrepreneurs and that the median household income was $50,000 to $75,000 per year.”
[Read Laitin’s entire op-ed HERE].
Laitin admits that resettling Syrians in Detroit would require commitment and cooperation across different branches and levels of government; but, he said, such a plan “is eminently feasible.”
It’s true that Gov. Snyder has been touting the idea that immigration equals job creation basically since he took office. In 2011, Snyder pushed legal immigration as a way to help Michigan’s talent pool to grow — citing Dow and Meijer as examples. Both companies were started by immigrants and are now household names in this state.MORE NEWS: Metro Detroit Woman Files Lawsuit Against Walmart, Says Discriminated Against By Managers
What do you think? Should Syrian refugees be sent to live in Detroit? Comment below.