In an unconventional method of immigration reform, many U.S. cities are actively making an effort to attract immigrants. They recognize that immigrants are the key to revitalize their financial fortunes.
Pittsburgh has a plan to revitalize itself by attracting immigrants and making every effort to retain them over the long-term. Rather than worry about the political morass of failed political intentions, the increase or decrease of border security, or even more new laws relating to immigrants, Pittsburgh has seen the light. The city stands behind multiple studies that show that immigrants raise home values in neighborhoods, and tend to start businesses more often than non-immigrants.
Pittsburgh is not the only city forming a welcoming committee to attract new immigrants. Joining them, with similar programs, are Dayton, Ohio, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Mo., Columbus, Ohio, Memphis, Tenn., Nashville, Tenn., Charlotte, N.C. and Louisville, Ky. It is the beginning of a more enlightened way of thinking about immigrants and the dream of the new opportunities that await them.
Behind the push to attract immigrants is also another hard hitting factor that many U.S. cities have been struggling with for a number of years since the beginning of the latest depression cycle: the ever increasing depopulation of industrial cities. According to Audrey Singer, a Brookings Institution senior fellow, two things start to happen after attracting immigrants: the population increases and there is an uptick in economic activity.
Instead of being viewed as unwelcome aliens that take jobs away from American citizens, these programs view immigration as a dynamic, driving force that holds the key to a better economy and a thriving city. In a manner of speaking, they hold the keys to the city, and are the recipe for revival in desperate times. It is a refreshing change of opinion and begs the question: if American cities are implementing their own alternative to immigration reform, then what is to happen with reform on the grander scale?
Therein lies a can of worms that politicians do not wish to touch. Perhaps the best way to move forward into the future is embrace the concept of global cities. It has been done before, and with success. Now is the time for a recurrence to help America get back on its feet. While it may be a different approach and a contentious one, it is the present reality. When reality calls, it is time to answer, adapt, adjust and move forward.