Daily Mail (London), May 2, 2011
The Mayor of New York City has sparked controversy by getting involved in the national immigration debate – declaring that all immigrants should all be sent to Detroit.
Mayor Bloomberg made the contentious comments while appearing on NBC’s political talk show Meet the Press.
But while he sounds convinced by the idea, critics in Detroit are not quite so convinced.
‘If I were the federal government,’ Bloomberg told David Gregory on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning, ‘assuming you could wave a magic wand and pull everybody together, you pass a law letting immigrants come in as long as they agree to go to Detroit and live there for five or ten years.’
Bloomberg said under his proposals, immigrants would arrive in Detroit and ‘start businesses, take jobs, whatever.’
‘You would populate Detroit over night because half the world wants to come here. You can use something like immigration policy, at no cost to the federal government, to fix a lot of the problems that we have,’ he added.
The Mayor’s comments come after the 2010 census revealed that Detroit has suffered a devastating population loss in recent decades, losing 25 per cent of its citizens in ten years. Population figures in the city are now at their lowest since 1910.
Significantly, the automotive industry is now struggling in a place which was once known as the ‘Motor City’.
Meanwhile , the country continues to struggle to deal with the number of immigrants wanting to come live in the United States.
While Mayor Bloomberg’s vision would be seen by some to hold some logic, his counterpart in Detroit is yet to be convinced.
‘There are things that would have to be considered before we just open the flood gates and say everyone come in,’ Karen Dumas, spokeswoman for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said.
‘Certainly, we do have room for additional citizens. We certainly welcome those citizens but we would want to make sure that people who are here are able to enjoy a quality of life from an educational perspective, an employment perspective and a public safety perspective.’
Dumas suggested the immigration situation was not quite as simple as Bloomberg had suggested.
Detroit residents might not take too kindly to the sudden influx of thousands of immigrants competing for jobs, she said, and new immigrants would need assistance from the government to help them make the transition to the city.
When pressed on whether Mayor Bloomberg might care to deal with problems in his own city rather than offer pointers elsewhere, Dumas said: ‘Detroit is everyone’s case study. Everybody has an idea or solution for Detroit but it’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking and back-seat driving.’