What has Syria ever done for us?
By Scott Sumner
The Detroit area is a magnet for Muslim immigrants, who are helping to revitalize the city. Here is The Economist:
For [Detroit] Mayor Duggan, even a slowdown in his city’s depopulation is good news; and he owes it entirely to immigrants. From 2010 to 2014, Detroit lost 36,000 residents who had been born in America. It gained 4,400 new immigrants–not enough to offset the population loss, but a significant increase in the share of immigrants in the city’s population. . . .
Immigrants create businesses at triple the rate of American-born residents. Between 2011 and 2015, 63% of adult immigrants to Michigan had a college degree. Immigrants still represent only 6% of the state’s population, but 33% of high-tech firms created there between 1990 and 2005 have at least one immigrant founder. Many of them set up shop in newly trendy downtown Detroit.
Signs abound that Detroit has turned the corner, at least in the downtown and midtown neighbourhoods. Opposite Cadillac Place are the offices and workshop of Shinola, a trendy maker of expensive watches and bikes, which Tom Kartsotis started with ten employees five years ago and now employs more than 350 in Detroit. In January the last of the city’s 65,000 new streetlights was switched on. A light-rail line is being built, and the city has put 80 new buses on the roads. Some 10,800 blighted houses have been torn down since 2014; another 2,500 will be removed soon. The rate of payment of property taxes has increased from just 68% during the city’s bankruptcy to 82%, in part thanks to a fairer assessment of the tax burden.
How do Michiganders feel about President Donald Trump’s effort to ban travellers from seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations? Mr Snyder says, diplomatically, that it opens a debate. But in several Michigan cities, especially Detroit, protests erupted. After hesitating, the chairman and chief executive of Ford released a statement saying they did not support it. But the ban, combined with newly stringent raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency charged with deporting undocumented workers, is sowing fear among immigrants, says Mr Tobocman. Such fear is the last thing Detroit needs, as it tries to lure them in.
And Syrians play a big role in healthcare:
Two weeks ago, a group of physicians at Massachusetts General wrote an opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), denouncing President Trump’s initial immigration ban from seven majority-Muslim countries . . . The nation relies heavily on foreign-born doctors, who make up 42 percent of office visits in rural America, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. And currently, nearly 3,500 doctors from Syria are working in the U.S., according to Medicus Firm, a physician-staffing service.
And I heard that this guy’s son made a contribution to America’s economy:
Steve Jobs’s biological father, Abdulfattah “John” Jandali (b. 1931), was born into a Muslim household and grew up in Homs, Syria.
We hear so much about terrorism (a danger right up there with lightning and slippery bathtubs), so it’s useful to occasionally take time to consider the benefits of immigration from Syria.