LANSING — State Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit) will lead a panel discussion about the effect of immigration on the state’s economy during this week’s meeting of the House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness, convening at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 2, in Room 521 of the House Office Building, 124 N. Capitol Ave. in Lansing.

“We, as policymakers, need to have a clear understanding of what immigrants contribute to our Michigan economy. My intention is to get members from both sides of the aisle to look at immigration from a different perspective,” Santana said. “I think the message from our distinguished panel of presenters is going to be that inclusiveness and diversity could have a strong positive impact on rebuilding and reshaping our state.”

Scheduled to speak on the panel are:

  • Fay Beydoun, executive director, Arab American Chamber of Commerce
  • Karen A. Phillippi, board president, Global Detroit; immigration services business manager, Miller Canfield
  • Martin Manna, president, Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce
  • Rick Garcia, board member, MI-ALMA; NRG Solutions
  • Osama Siblani, founder and publisher, Arab American News
  • Wendy Block, director of health policy and human resources, Michigan Chamber of Commerce

Santana also expressed his thanks to committee Chairman Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) for his encouragement and accommodations in setting up the discussion.

“The subject of immigration can split the room in two,” Santana said. “We need to have a different approach that we may all rally around. Let’s shift the focus from building walls to restoring economic prosperity for everyone.”