Jan 04

Hostility to Immigrants Not as Great as the Media Lead the Public to Believe

It’s true that there seems to be a lot of hostility to immigrants and immigration policy, but there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

 

In reality many communities are open to immigration and are willing to come out publicly in favor or it. To show their commitment, municipal leaders around the United States are continually coming up with ways to integrate new arrivals, including processes to accelerate the learning of English and showing them how to get jobs.

 

In many cities, especially so-called ‘sanctuary cities’, police and municipal authorities are not permitted to ask about immigrant status in the course of their official duties, and are also offering economic assistance to help attract and establish more immigrants.

Baltimore is a prime example of a city that needs aggressive, self-starting immigrants. In recent years the city has experienced massive depopulation due mostly to the recession, though the city has been troubled for decades. At its peak, it had nearly one million, but that number has dwindled to a little more than half that. Municipal leaders hope to inject some new energy into the city with hopeful and optimistic immigrants.

A program called Welcoming Cities and Counties Initiative works with local governments to create environments that will be friendly to immigrants, in order to maximize growth and increase diversity. The initiative collects creative innovations, and provides resources and training to allow communities to more easily integrate new arrivals. It is also linked to grassroots movements that want social change and promotes research into immigrant contributions to their communities. In these ways they hope to provide working models for welcoming newcomers through links to the business community, non profits and governmental partnerships.