Undocumented immigrants face higher tuition at some Michigan colleges and universities

Capital News Service
LANSING — A college acceptance letter isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. For many undocumented immigrants in Michigan and their children, the application process is just one hurdle on the road to a college education. “They’ve invested so much in their education but when they come to go to college, that’s when the road closes on them,” said Jose Franco, founder of One Michigan, a Detroit-based group that works for immigrant rights. Some Michigan public universities offer in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. But many four-year colleges and most community colleges don’t – even though students may have lived their entire life in the state.

Make professional licensing easier for immigrants, advocates say

Capital News Service
LANSING – From physicians to architects to barbers, immigrants and other people educated or trained abroad must meet Michigan’s licensing requirements to continue their professional and vocational careers in this country. And difficulties in doing so could impede efforts by the Snyder administration to attract skilled immigrants to Michigan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 6 percent of the state’s population was born abroad. Ryan Bates, director of the Alliance for Immigrants Rights and Reform-Michigan, said, “The requirements are complicated. It depends on different types of licenses.”

According to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affair (LARA), all applicants for commercial licenses must meet the same requirements.

Immigrants fuel entrepreneurship in Michigan

Capital News Service
LANSING — When Bhushan Kulkarni, an Indian citizen who finished his master’s degree in West Virginia, came to Ann Arbor for a summer internship in 1988, he fell in love with the community. It became his second hometown as he started his own business there after the internship and now owns two Ann Arbor-based companies, providing information technology consulting service. Kulkarni realized his dream to start his own business after he got a green card that allowed him to stay and work in the United States. As an international student, “you need a work visa to do a specific job,” he said. “But when I got a green card, I was free to do what I wanted to do.

Anti-immigrant bills could dampen jobs growth

Capital News Service
LANSING – Studies show that immigrants are twice as likely to start a business as other people, so several Michigan organizations are welcoming them to spur economic growth. But despite support from Gov. Rick Snyder, state agencies and non-profit organizations, bills pending in the Legislature could undermine that effort, said Anika Fassia, a policy analyst with the Michigan League for Human Services. With the state trying to climb out of a decade-long recession, hindering a population known to revive local economies is puzzling, she said. “At a time of really high unemployment and in a state that was the only one to lose population, it makes no sense to impose or implement any anti-immigrant legislation when they have proven to contribute to the local economy, create businesses, create jobs,” she said. Immigrants were responsible for 32.8 percent of high-tech start-up companies in Michigan between 1995 and 2006, according to a report by the Michigan League for Human Services.