The idea: Issue an extra 50,000 EB-2 green cards to high-skilled foreign workers and investors on the condition that they spend a set number of years in Detroit or start companies with investments of at least $500,000 and at least 10 employees.
Why it makes sense: Since 1950, the population of Detroit has declined by over 1 million, and the exodus has left much of the city abandoned and the municipal government bankrupt. Issuing Detroit-only green cards is a way to re-populate the city with professionals capable of bring much-needed skills and businesses with them. Any economic stimulation triggered by the arrival of foreign workers and investors would ripple throughout the city, boosting not only employment but also the coffers of the municipal government.
While some have criticised the scheme on the grounds that it would represent a lack of faith in Detroit’s denizens, there’s a strong case to be made that the injection of foreign capital is precisely what the city – and its people – need in order to thrive.
Could it happen? The biggest obstacle facing the Detroit-only green card plan – which has been proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder – is that it would be without precedent in the United States. As long as immigration remains one of the most divisive political issues in America, it seems unlikely that Congress (which would be required to give its consent to the scheme) would get behind a proposal that would create 50,000 new green cards.
It’s also worth noting the flood-gate argument against the proposal: If Congress allowed for the creation of Detroit-only immigration, a host of other deprived American cities might feel justified in asking for the same treatment. After all, is Detroit’s plight significantly worse than that of, say, Newark or East St. Louis?
Likelihood of happening: 12% (Keep Dreaming).