Across the U.S., individual cities are taking it upon themselves to make their homes friendlier to immigrants. In an age where anti-immigrant rhetoric is rife and both state and federal laws are being passed to make it more difficult for immigrants to settle, some city leaders are looking to immigrants to help them revive their fading communities.
One such city is Baltimore, where Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has been working since 2011 to increase the growth of the city’s population by encouraging immigrant families to flock there. To achieve her goals, Mayor Rawlings-Blake has pushed through a number of initiatives to help her city become far more immigrant-friendly, including directing law enforcement to cease questioning people’s citizenship status, launching Spanish-language classes in local schools, and founding community groups to help immigrants address paperwork concerns. She has recommended that the city help the immigrant population obtain mortgages by hiring city liaisons to help them through the mortgage application process.
The impact this has had on Baltimore’s shrinking population and economy has been dramatic. Immigrants make up approximately 9% of the city’s population, while also forming 12% of the workforce and being more than 20% of business owners in Baltimore. Many immigrants have a higher level of education and lower unemployment levels than the general population, according to the Abell Foundation.
Immigrants have also created vibrant ethnic enclaves across the city, where those from similar backgrounds have gathered together. Often, downtrodden parts of the city have become home to groups of immigrants, who have taken it upon themselves to form strong communities and establish businesses in the areas they inhabit. Baltimore isn’t the only city enjoying the social and economic benefits of immigrant populations. Many Rust Belt cities, including Detroit and St. Louis, have adopted similar policies to encourage immigrant populations to settle, including alternative licensing and identification for undocumented immigrants.
While the mentality may be foreign in this current age, dozens of U.S. cities are becoming a testament to what immigration can do to help revitalize and stimulate floundering communities. Even when faced with federal immigration, these municipalities are crafting homegrown immigration policies to fit their needs.
At The Law Offices of Rosina C. Stambaugh, we understand how the valuable contributions of immigrants help the U.S. grow and flourish. Our York immigration lawyer is committed to helping immigrants face their immigration issues with compassionate client service and experienced legal counsel.