A Letter to Constituents on Immigration and the Economy

Thursday, October 3, 2013
State Rep. Harvey Santana (D-Detroit) testifies before the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee on the subject of Immigration and the Michigan economy on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013.

My Friends in the 9th District,

On Wednesday, Oct. 2, I was honored to lead a panel of five experts testifying before the House of Representatives Michigan Competitiveness Committee on the subject of Immigration and the Michigan economy.

The famous basketball player Wilt Chamberlain once stated that the main color in the USA is not black or white or brown — it’s green.

As a member of the Michigan Competitiveness Committee, we are searching for new ways that Michigan can be transformed into the leading state in the nation in job creation and economic development. We want the waters of economic development to rise in Michigan and to capture what President John F. Kennedy said years ago: “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Our goal is to make Michigan an immigrant-friendly state so that the brightest people move here, work here, create jobs and products here and pay taxes here. All Michigan residents will benefit from that. We want new businesses to come into Detroit and the 9th District and provide good paying jobs for Detroiters and pay taxes to help provide for needed government services.

Consider just a few facts about immigrants and Michigan:

  • People born in other nations make up 5.8 percent of Michigan’s population, spending more than $17.5 billion dollars in consumer purchasing power.
  • Businesses owned by immigrants had sales of more than $8.3 billion dollars and employed more than 60,000 people.
  • The 582,742 immigrants in Michigan is nearly the total population of Boston, Mass.
  • Immigrants and their descendants will pay about $100,000 more in taxes than they receive in public services over their lifetimes.
  • Immigrants are three times more likely to start a business, and 28 percent of all small businesses in 2011 were founded by immigrants.
  • Many major American corporations were founded by immigrants.

Over the next few weeks, I will be working closely with colleagues from both sides of the political aisle to come up with innovative ways to make Michigan all it can be. The United States has often been said to be the home of the American Dream. We want Michigan to be the place where more dreams come true and benefit all the state’s citizens.

I will keep you informed of my progress on your behalf.