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Know Your Rights
Source: AM New York
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

New Yorkers riled up over Bloomie’s idea to send immigrants to Detroit

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s suggestion to allow new immigrants into America — just as long as they help repopulate a blighted Detroit — was met with contempt Sunday in Hizzoner’s home city and beyond.

“It’s against human rights,” said Michelle Risa, 60, of Murray Hill. “He should move to Detroit if he’s suggesting a solution. Would he like to be told where to go?”

Bloomberg, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to talk about the nation’s economy, suggested that declining industrial cities such as Detroit could be rebuilt with the help of immigrants.

“If I were the federal government, assuming you could wave a magic wand and pull everybody together, you pass a law letting immigrants come in as long as they agreed to go to Detroit and live there for five or ten years,” Bloomberg said. “Start businesses, take jobs, whatever.”

The suggestion by the immigration-friendly mayor left many baffled.

“Sending people there isn’t going to create jobs,” added Adrian Rubio, 39, of midtown. “People are leaving because there are no jobs there.”

“It may be great for Detroit because it could revive its population, but it’s ludicrous,” said Carol Swain, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University who believes that the country should worry about enforcing immigration laws instead. “We have 11 to 18 million undocumented persons that are competing with American citizens for jobs, for health care, for education, for a decent standard of living.”

A spokeswoman for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said Sunday that the Motor City could use some revving up and is open to helpful ideas, especially after it lost an astounding 25 percent of its population between 2000 and 2010.

“Again, ideas are just that — there has to be a reality component to them to make sure they can really work,” said spokeswoman Karen Dumas.

Andrew Friedman, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, a Brooklyn-based immigrant advocacy group, said Bloomberg is “spot on” by suggesting that immigrants change a city’s landscape for the better.

“The reality is that New York would look a lot like Detroit without the immigrant spirit that is here,” Friedman said.

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