Detroit, St. Louis and other Rust Belt Cities Look to Immigrants to Revive Their Economies

By on May 29, 2018

From The Dallas Morning News:  In Texas, a lot of effort and taxpayer money go into recruiting businesses. Should more go into recruiting immigrants?

That sounds counterintuitive, even controversial, given that so many immigrants live here already and statewide leaders often take a hard line on immigration and border security. But it’s a strategy that’s been embraced in many Rust Belt cities.

In Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis and other metros in the Great Lakes region, communities were desperate to fuel a recovery after the Great Recession. They studied the impact of immigrants, and many adopted programs to nurture the newcomers.

Instead of focusing on civil rights or social justice, they built economic development strategies around immigration.

Over 20 local programs were designed to welcome, retain and integrate immigrants to spur urban revival and economic growth, according to a report by the New American Economy, a bipartisan, pro-immigration group of more than 500 mayors and business leaders.

The programs offer mentoring and support to immigrants who want to start their own businesses. They pull together employers looking to hire immigrants and local universities.

They advise foreign-born workers on professional licensing and try to persuade international students to settle there. They connect immigrant professionals through networking and help immigrant spouses, too.

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About Dede Hance