Friday, February 13, 2009

Update: Rust Belt Immigration

Richard Herman posted another round of immigration news on Wednesday. Among the tidbits is a late November story about Pittsburgh's connection to the Great Lakes mega-regional initiative. The link resurfaced today in a Buffalo newspaper:

The Capitol Hill visits cap an effort that began a year ago “to try and approach the federal government collectively and with a strategic perspective for dollars and policy to revitalize what we believe is a multi-regional economic super-region: the Great Lakes,” said Andrew J. Rudnick, president of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

Rudnick noted that the effort pre-dated the economic downturn. And Barbara McNees, president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, said the chambers have a vision that goes far beyond the $789 billion stimulus package that Congress is expected to finalize shortly.

“This is all about long-term investment in the Great Lakes region,” McNees said.

One of the suggested long-term investments is in attracting high-skilled immigrants to the Rust Belt. Doing so will mean retooling the currently besieged H-1B visa program. Economic downturns tend to be a time of scapegoating outsiders. Pushing through some progressive immigration legislation will be very difficult.

And since Barbara McNees is one of the faces of this mega-regional effort, where is the Pittsburgh media? There is a lot going on in Washington, DC this week concerning the future of Rust Belt cities such as Pittsburgh. But you wouldn't know much about it if you just read Post-Gazette or Tribune-Review. If I'm wrong about that, I'd appreciate someone pointing out the articles I'm missing.

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