New plan: Repopulate Detroit with Syrians!

This wasn’t a one-time thing. A couple months later [Jeb Bush] said again, responding to an immigrant questioner, “I think Detroit would do real well if we started repopulating it with young, aspirational people, people like yourself.”

An op-ed in Friday’s New York Times puts flesh on the bones of this notion by calling for repopulating Detroit with refugees from the Syrian Civil War. The authors — a Stanford professor and a former housing bureaucrat from New York — suggest admitting 50,000 Syrians a year from refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey and conducting “accelerated security checks” on them. Also, “grants from the federal government and from philanthropic foundations would be needed to help the local Arab-American community supply social services for the newcomers.”

Hoo-boy! This may be the dumbest idea that’s appeared in the Times’ editorial pages in a while, and that’s saying something. To begin with, the concept of “repopulating” with immigrants places from which Americans have fled is absurd – why do you think there’s a need for “repopulating” in the first place? Living in Detroit is a job Americans won’t do because of dysfunctional, corrupt, and despotic government, terrible schools, high crime. The call for immigrant settlement as a solution is merely a way to avoid grappling with the fallout of decades of liberal governance. If the bad policies that drove people away in the first place were corrected, you wouldn’t need immigrants to live in Detroit because Americans would do it. If you don’t fix the problems, then immigration is merely a band-aid – worse, really, because it’s a strategy designed to permit dysfunctional government to continue its perverse ways for a few more years (until the immigrants move out too).