This past June marked the second celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, a month dedicated to sharing stories celebrating the diversity and shared heritage that make America. We’re a country built by immigrants, and one of our greatest strengths lies in the new people we welcome every year. Global Detroit chose to mark the celebration with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit City Council at a City of Detroit naturalization ceremony held at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. We watched America get a bit stronger as we welcomed 105 new Americans from 27 countries in the city’s first naturalization ceremony in over thirty years.
The ceremony was a great reminder of how special it is to be a U.S. citizen. A few of the reasons given by the new Americans for seeking citizenship were: greater freedoms; better education opportunities for their children; the ability to serve the country through public service; and the desire to participate in democracy through voting. Alexander Aull moved to the region for work as a field service engineer. “I wanted to become a citizen to support the United States. My great uncle also immigrated here in early 1900s. I am now married to an American and I have a strong belief in self-government and voting. It was the first thing I did today – register to vote.”
“A century ago, Detroit and the State of Michigan were home to large numbers of new immigrants seeking the land of opportunity. Their innovative, entrepreneurial, and industrious spirit formed the backbone of Michigan’s economy over the last century. Their companies and labor provided the highest middle-class standard of living the world has ever known,” said Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit Director. “And we should not forget these contributions because embracing immigration can once again be a critical piece of a prosperous economic future,” Tobocman added.
America has historically found great strength among its immigrant communities. Immigrant Heritage Month was cause to release new data compiled by the Partnership for a New American Economy, in conjunction with the Welcoming Economies (WE) Global Network, that underscores immigrants’ profound historical impact on American industry, especially in the Rust Belt. Analyzing the 2011 Fortune 500, the 500 largest American companies, the Partnership for a New American Economy noted that 41 percent of the Fortune 500 firms were started by immigrants or the children of immigrants.
The numbers become even more impressive when considering the impact immigrants have had on the ten WE Global states (NY, PA, OH, MI, IN, IL, MO, IA, MN, and WI). Of the 206 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the WE Global region, 94 (or 45%) were founded by an immigrant or child of an immigrant. Moreover, almost half of all the Fortune 500 companies nationally that were founded by immigrants and their children are located in the ten-state WE Global region (94 out of 205 companies).
Read the full article here.