Assuming You Could Wave a Magic Wand...
by Anthony Stasi
May 03, 2011 | 5208 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s suggestion that new immigrants ought to be relocated (or located) to Detroit, Michigan, is an interesting one, although it perhaps misses the mark. (For one, the government can't just send people where they want.)

Bloomberg explained on Meet The Press that “you pass a law letting immigrants come in as long as they agreed to go to Detroit and live there for five or 10 years. Start businesses, take jobs, whatever.”

The mayor is right that Detroit is losing citizens, and new Americans would find a city in Detroit that is affordable, but the reason that there are so few people in the city is because there are not many jobs left in Detroit.

And the jobs part is where this gets a little sketchy. Immigrants can get work on farms and in suburban areas, but Detroit has only a few jobs, and those are big-time union gigs. Likewise, many Americans are out of work, so new ideas that focus on jobs for immigrants and not citizens could be an issue.

I will be spending Monday morning (I am writing this on Sunday) with former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, and in next week’s column I'll let you know what he thinks about the idea.

The other thing to remember is that, oh yeah, this is Detroit, and if immigrants want poor economic conditions, they can stay where they are. Bloomberg is pretty welcoming on the immigration issue, and he is trying to find a solution that does not involve locking the border or letting people flow in illegally. The idea is good if there were a jobs component.

Here’s a possible solution to the jobs component: if Detroit embraces the green initiatives that are coming from the federal government, there could be solar panel companies willing to manufacture in Detroit. With solar, thermal, and wind energy being the future, what better place to get it pumping than Detroit?

Only after that manufacturing ball gets rolling can we encourage any Americans – new or established – to relocate to what is now an economic ghost town.

Emerging Catholic Market in the US

The beatification of Pope John Paul II has again highlighted the popularity of the former pontiff, but it also shines a little light on the American Catholic Church.

Talk to devout Catholics, and while they usually won’t say much in the negative about Pope Benedict, they still refer to John Paul as The Pope. As to whether John Paul has performed the appropriate miracles in order to enter sainthood, one thing is clear: his life on earth was eventful and it had an impact.

The fall of communism, especially in his native Poland, should be the biggest part of his legacy. The church’s trouble with sex scandals is also a part of that legacy, and now that issue gets inherited by Benedict. It might be that an unsung part of John Paul’s legacy, despite these scandals, was that he was able to keep the Church from losing members.

What John Paul can take credit for, posthumously, is that there is such a bevy of young Catholics that were drawn to his charisma. Many of those young Catholics are Hispanic and many are new Americans.

As most of America’s immigration flow is coming from south of the border, the American Catholic Church is getting its energy from younger Hispanic Catholics. These younger Catholics from Spanish-speaking countries are more inclined to follow Church doctrine than some of the more assimilated Americans.

There has been a drop-off in most American Protestant churches as far as membership is concerned. This is not due to a lack of enthusiasm, but demography. The demographics of the country are changing, and the American Catholic Church is benefiting from that change.

John Paul referred to modern Catholics that lived outside of Church doctrine as “Cafeteria Catholics,” choosing which aspects they agreed to live by. In modern American society, the Cafeteria Catholicism that irked him is hard to avoid, but the immigrant class that comes from Catholic countries tends to follow Catholicism closer to holy doctrine, and that will eventually make Catholicism in America slightly different.

Hopefully, these Catholic families will take advantage of the excellent Catholic schools in the U.S., which will benefit both young students and the schools as well.

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