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A New America, Fueled by Immigrants

October 14, 2013
Plain English Version

Dayton, Ohio is a city that has seen hard times. Homes were abandoned, and the downtown was empty. The challenge was how to bring the city back to prosperity.

The solution was to welcome immigrants. Immigrants bring a spirit of renewal. They bring money. They bring the skills they learned in their homelands.

It is working. Turkish immigrants are arriving from elsewhere in the U.S. White picket fences, new roofs and freshly painted porches are appearing in Dayton. A Turkish immigrant leader said, “We want to invest in places where we are accepted better, and we are accepted better in Dayton.”

Other cities are becoming “immigrant friendly.”  They are building a network of programs to help immigrants improve their cities’ economies.

They are not for or against the undocumented. Unless crimes have been committed, they are not looking to find out if people have legal status.

Dayton already had a large number of immigrants:

  • Muslims from different countries;
  • refugees from Burundi and Somalia;
  • college students from China, India and Saudi Arabia;
  • Filipinos in health care jobs;
  • laborers from Latin America.

Welcoming immigrants means using city services and schools to help people find homes and jobs. It changes the attitudes of people who are suspicious of authorities. It costs almost no money to provide supportive services.

Dayton stores, art galleries and community centers are opening up.

Nearly half of Dayton’s people are black Americans. They want to be sure they are included in the job growth.

What is happening in Dayton is a trend in other cities. Jobs, housing and a growing population, including American born people, follow immigrants who are building economies.

Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Lansing are all making programs to attract immigrants.

A Dayton official said, “We have found that we can repopulate our city and we can educate the people and inspire them to employ themselves. In 10 years, when the federal government figures everything out, we will be thriving.”

Source: The New York Times                                                                                                  October 7, 2013

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