Detroit & Windsor share common goals and challenges

On April 18 representatives from Global Detroit, The Welcome Mat Detroit, and the University of Detroit Mercy Immigration Law Clinic traveled internationally (through the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel!) to meet with representatives of the Windsor-Essex County Local Immigration Partnership (LIP). Common challenges and opportunities on economic, social, and legal issues were shared by both. Created in 2007, LIP is comprised of provincial and municipal officials and representatives of social service providers. Much like our Welcome Mat Detroit, they don’t provide the services – they link the service providers to those in need of the services.

A major distinction between the neighboring countries’ provision of resources to immigrants, refugees, and their children is that the federal government of Canada provides some funding. The group shared that the Obama administration has expressed interest in the Canadian model (perhaps particularly as immigration reform in the U.S. appears to be a real political possibility).  Much of the discussion was a compare-and-contrast of the two systems, what is working for people, the need for skilled workers in both countries, entrepreneurship, and ways each system might learn from each other.

Not only are our friends in Windsor-Essex very similar to us in their economic challenges and opportunities, but the visit highlighted the innovative and unique nature of each of our efforts to tap into immigrant and refugee talent, entrepreneurship and industriousness. Participants were excited about the meeting and promised that this is the first of many meetings where we can work together on these common issues to make our region the most international in the country.

Global Detroit and its initiatives continue to promote these conversations that will create culture change and allow Detroit and the region to become an international hub.

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