14 May 2012

Michigan Gov. Supports Immigration and Chrysler/Fiat

Story first appeared in The Detroit Free Press.

The Michigan Governor said Monday that he considers talent to be the state’s most valuable resource and said his goal is to keep people in the state who have valuable skills, including foreigners who study at the state’s colleges.  He told a group of about 40 recently hired Chrysler employees that he is probably the most pro-immigration governor in the United States.

The United States became economically strong in part because immigrants who came to America seeking a better life became entrepreneurs and sought degrees in higher education.

There are now immigration laws set up in the U.S. that say we’re going to educate these really bright people, and then basically tell them to get out.

Snyder’s comments came in response to a question about the promotion of diversity in Michigan from a Chrysler employee. The governor spoke to employees for about 10 minutes before fielding questions about tourism, the state’s unemployment outlook and the quality of available jobs in the state.

Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped from a high of 14.2% in August 2009 to 8.5% in March as the automotive industry has begun to recover and hire more workers. But the Michigan governor feels that the rate is still too high.

Chrysler’s progress under majority owner Fiat is a model that the state should follow as the state works to reinvent itself.

Under majority owner Fiat, Chrysler reported its first profit in years in 2011 and its first quarter earnings of $473 million were nearly four times its earnings for the same period last year. As Fiat and Chrysler get closer to a full merger it is hoped that the state’s available talent and proposal to reform the state’s personal property taxes will encourage the company to pick Auburn Hills as its global headquarters.

They are an industrial company that is dong fabulous work, that reform would actually make Michigan a much more competitive place and really encourage them to be here.

The governor declined to provide any specific updates to his efforts to reach an agreement to build a new international bridge across the Detroit River.

Snyder met in Windsor Thursday with the Canadian Transport Minister to work on a plan with Canadian officials, despite a lack of support from the Michigan Legislature.

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