Mike’s Immigrant Plan to Save Cities

David Seifman, New York Post, May 23, 2012

Ratcheting up his controversial proposal for revitalizing America’s cities, Mayor Bloomberg yesterday suggested that the federal government “deliberately force” large municipalities to take in immigrants as the only hope for salvaging their battered economies.

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Bloomberg spoke at a Midtown forum, timed to the release of a new study titled “Not Coming to America: Why the US is Falling Behind in the Global Race for Talent.”

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The report by the Partnership for New York City and the Partnership for a New American Economy spotlighted failings of US immigration policies that the mayor has been complaining about for years, portraying a nation that’s sitting by idly while competitors around the globe snatch up workers who are most in demand.

The examples were stark: In 1991, some 18 percent of both Canada’s and America’s immigrants were rated as highly skilled; by last year, Canada’s percentage had soared to 67, while the United States was falling further behind, at 13 percent.

The report noted that Canada allows its provinces to set different immigration standards to attract the type of employees each region needs.

The mayor quickly endorsed a similar proposal for US states—and then some.

“There’s no reason why you have to have a common immigration policy for all of America,” he argued. “You could let each state do it differently.

“I would argue the federal government should go one step further. They should deliberately force some places that don’t want immigrants to take them, because that’s the only solution for these big, hollowed-out cities where industry has left and is never going to come back unless you get some people to move there.”

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