Last month Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) unveiled a plan to help revitalize bankrupt Detroit: issue special visas to lure highly skilled immigrants to the city, or as he put it, send the message that "Detroit is open to the world." The city's population has plunged by over 1 million since its peak of 1.8 million in 1950. The EB-2 visa's Snyder envisions would be aimed at individuals with advanced degrees in fields like information technology, healthcare and life sciences. Snyder would need federal approval for the plan at a time when immigration reform is one of the most contentious political issues. And there's no precedent for issuing such visas for a specific geographic region. But the governor said the program is similar to an existing one granting visas to doctors who commit to working in under-served areas. And he believes the plan could draw tens of thousands of immigrants to Detroit over the next five years. "Let's ask the federal government to change regulations to bring in highly skilled immigrants to the state," Snyder said. "We'd like to see 50,000 immigrants over five years coming to live and work in Detroit." In other Detroit-related news, a federal bankruptcy court judge rejected a deal negotiated by the city to pay Bank of America and UBS $165 million to extricate itself from some long-term financial contracts that are costing it tens of millions of dollars each year. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven W. Rhodes said it was time to put an end to the hasty financial decisions that got the city into the trouble it's currently in. "It's just too much money," Judge Rhodes said. But the judge also said it was "reasonably likely" the city could get out of its contractual obligations to the two banks by suing them instead. (DETROIT FREE PRESS, NBCNEWS.COM, NEW YORK TIMES, STATE NET)
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