While states like Alabama and Arizona focus on curbing illegal immigration, the city of Dayton, Ohio has a message for legal immigrants: Welcome.
The city passed a plan, “Welcome Dayton: Immigrant Friendly City,” (pdf) earlier this month that aims to help legal immigrants assimilate and thrive. Its recommendations include adopting “immigrant-friendly” law enforcement policies, expanding programs in which volunteers teach English, and reducing barriers to starting businesses.
The report notes:
Communities across America are at a crossroad: to welcome and integrate new residents and help them on a path to citizenship, or to allow old stereotypes fears and preconceptions to hinder future success.
Dayton is banking on the former.
In another recent report, Audrey Singer and Jill Wilson of the Brookings Institution analyze immigration to metropolitan areas over the past ten years. Writing at CNN about their research, they attribute much of the uproar over immigration–Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina passed laws in 2011 related to curbing the illegal variety–to the sputtering economy, not to any grand influx of people.
From 1990 to 2000, 11.3 million immigrants came to the United States. In the next decade, according to recently released Census data, that number fell to 8.8 million. But Singer and Wilson say that an expanding economy during the 1990s meant that immigrants–both legal and illegal–“were viewed as assets to our labor force and society,” whereas now Americans are more likely to think immigrants will just take jobs from domestic workers.
Singer and Wilson write that Cleveland and Detroit are two other cities discussing whether attracting immigrants can improve their faltering economies. It might take the sort of economic stagnation felt by many Rust Belt cities to make people realize it's a good idea to attract more workers, regardless of where they come from.
Reason on immigration.