DACA workers would leave a hole in economy if forced to leave

By STEPHEN OLSCHANSKI
Capital News Service

LANSING —  Veronica Thronson, director of the Immigration Law Clinic at Michigan State University, said the economic impact to ending DACA is uncertain, but it could have detrimental effects on those already benefiting from it.

Thronson said she knows of DACA participants who are research assistants at Michigan State.  Another created her own business, she said.

“She started a business where I think she has four or five employees so not only are they [DACA recipients] contributing, they’re also employing other people,” Thronson said. “And so the impact is just going to be tremendous.”

Michigan’s economy could lose hundreds of millions of dollars if the children of undocumented immigrants are deported, according to some analyses.

However, much uncertainty remains on the scale of the potential loss as the result of the Trump administration’s push for a plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

That program — enacted under former President Barack Obama — protects children brought to the United States by undocumented immigrants. To qualify, most had to enter the U.S. before they were 16 and live here since June 15, 2007.

A liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress, based in Washington, D.C., pegs the economic loss at nearly $390 million for Michigan and nationally at $433.4 billion over the next 10 years. The conservative Cato Institute, also in Washington, puts the national figure at $280 billion over the next decade.

DACA allows these undocumented immigrants to apply for a two-year period of deferred action on deportation and to apply for a work permit. It does not give them legal status as a citizen.

Trump moved to end DACA Tuesday, giving its nearly 800,000 participants a six-month delay before they are eligible for deportation.

The onus is now on Congress to replace the program before the six-month delay ends.

The Center for American Progress estimates there are 5,982 Michigan DACA participants and that 5,204 of them are employed.

The Washington, D.C., Migration Policy Institute estimates that 15,000 Michigan residents are eligible for the program.

Experts say that the loss to the economy comes from losing potential workers.

Many participants are also pursuing high -evel degrees which will translate into employment in high skilled jobs,  Thronson said.

Much of the uncertainty shinges on how or if Congress adopts a new law regarding DACA.

“In that case the effects are likely to be small,” said Charles Ballard, an economist with the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan Statey.

The approximately 6,000 Michigan DACA participants could have a small economic impact in a state of 10 million residents, Ballard said. It would fall more so on the individual than on the economy as a whole.

As for highly skilled workers being removed from the economy, Ballard said he believes it wouldn’t be “devastating” to the economy in Michigan but would present a challenge to employers.

“If you’re an employer and you have a few of your top workers and all of a sudden they’re gone, that hurts your business — no question about it,” Ballard said.

Canada might be a benefactor if Michigan DACA workers are deported, he said. Many might choose to move there instead of facing deportation to a country which doesn’t speak English as a primary language.

“If we basically export thousands of highly skilled workers to Canada, that’s a win for Canada and a loss for the United States,” Ballard said.

Removing potential skilled workers harms the economy, Ike Brannon, a visiting fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote in an email.

“We’d basically be taking almost a million potential workers, all of whom have or are receiving post-high-school education, and are consigning them to the informal/underground work force,” Brannon wrote. “When the unemployment rate is below 4.5 percent, the issue isn’t that we have skilled people who are looking for jobs

“It’s that we have occupations that are wanting for skilled people, and we’re removing people who fill those needed positions, Brannon said.

Michigan universities offer help for undocumented students

By CHAO YAN

Capital News Service

LANSING — Several public university officials in Michigan said they will continue to work to keep tuition rates lower and campuses friendly for undocumented students, even as the federal government launches policies that are viewed as unfriendly to many immigrants.

President Donald Trump ordered the construction of a Mexican border wall on Jan. 25 and is expected to curtail immigration, which has caused stress among undocumented students.

In 2012, President Barack Obama launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted undocumented immigrants work permits and temporary residency, a status that must be renewed every two years.

As of September 2016, Michigan had nearly 11,000 approved DACA recipients and was ranked 24th in the nation, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Continue reading

State’s ag exports to China skyrocket

By MICHAEL KRANSZ
Capital News Service

LANSING — In the past five years, more and more of Michigan’s dairy products and prepared fruits and vegetables have been on their way to China, according to export data from Euromonitor International Ltd.

From 2010 to 2014, the dollar value of dairy product exports to China skyrocketed 688 percent, according to the London-based economic analysis firm. In that same time period, the dollar value of prepared fruit and vegetable exports, which include dried tart cherries, rose almost four-fold.

Chris Wolf, a professor of agricultural, food and resource economics at Michigan State University, said U.S. dairy products — specifically powdered milk — took hold in the Chinese market following that country’s baby formula scandal in 2008.
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International students with startups face visa difficulties

By YUEHAN LIU
Capital News Service

LANSING—International students face daunting challenges starting a business.
But as more and more international students enroll at Michigan universities, more and more keep trying to open businesses in the state.

And the Small Business Association encourages their idea.

For example, Grand Valley State University has 400, Western Michigan University has more than 1,800, and Michigan State University has more than 7,000 international students.
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Michigan aims to capture Chinese tourist market

By ZHAO PENG

Capital News Service

LANSING — The number of Chinese travelers and the amount of money spent per visitor are the highest among all groups of international visitors, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

This potential tourism market is capturing the attention of Michigan’s government.

For the first time, Gov. Rick Snyder included tourism in the agenda of his recent investment mission to China and touted Michigan’s potential as a destination for international travelers.
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New visa rules mean increased efforts to attract Chinese visitors to Michigan

By CHEYNA ROTH
Capital News Service

LANSING — The U.S. is making it easier for Chinese residents to visit the United States, and Michigan is working hard to take advantage of this new economic opportunity.

Leisure visas into the United States from China are now good for 10 years, which makes it cheaper and easier for Chinese tourists to come and go. A rising economy and growing upper middle class mean Chinese visitors can stay longer and spend more than they used to, tourism officials said.

About 1.8 million Chinese tourists traveled to the U.S. in 2013, according the U.S. Office of Travel & Tourism Industries. In 2014, a little over 1.9 million had visited by October.
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Refugees increase, face education, language hurdles

By KATIE AMANN

Capital News Service

LANSING — The world has a growing number of displaced people driven from their homes because of conflict, more than ever before, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. For the 86 percent of them in developing countries, that means increasingly limited access to quality education.

“Education is vital in restoring hope and dignity to young people driven from their homes,” the agency said.

But even refugees living in Michigan may face serious obstacles in obtaining education, experts say.
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Turkey should help Syrians, Turkish students here say

By DUYGU KANVER

Capital News Service

LANSING – The Syrian town of Kobani, a predominantly Kurdish city by the Turkish border, has been under assault by the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) since mid-September, leaving about 800 dead and 300,000 displaced from their homes.

While airstrikes led by the U.S. have supported ongoing resistance by Kurdish forces in the region, Kurds say Turkey’s collaboration by opening its borders with Syria and Iraq is central to saving Kobani.

“We ask for nothing from the Turkish government but this,” says Ruken Sengul, a Turkish Kurd postdoctoral fellow in the Armenian Studies program at the University of Michigan.
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Ukraine supporters hope election leads to EU

By AMANDA PROSCIA

Capital News Service

LANSING — The victory of pro-European parties in the recent election in Ukraine is inspiring hope among Michigan’s Ukrainian residents that the country will eventually become a member of the European Union.

The Communist Party won’t have a seat in the new parliament for the first time since the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.

“The results are a strong statement,” said Vera Andrushkiw of Troy and vice president of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation in Washington, D.C.
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EU membership will elude Turkey, Michigan Turks say

By DUYGU KANVER

Capital News Service

LANSING — Turks in Michigan say they’re not hopeful about the success of an initiative by the new government of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to accelerate negotiations to win European Union membership for Turkey.

In the second cabinet meeting after Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s election as president, “the focus and primary agenda was the European Union,” said Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc.

Arinc outlined a three-step plan to begin this year as “a new but scheduled course of action” to be carried out within five years. The strategy aims at preparing Turkey for EU membership by 2019.
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