While the fighting in Washington over the issue of immigration becomes uglier by the day, there is a very different situation being played out in many cities in the United States, where immigrants are being welcomed and integrated into the communities with open arms.
“Rather than playing to fears or rejecting newcomers, many municipal leaders are coming up with new data-driven strategies to better welcome and integrate immigrants and refugees,” researchers from the University of California claim in a new study released as a joint effort with The Americas Society. The study found that a number of cities in the United States have been looking for new ways to help immigrants to better integrate in an attempt to defuse tensions between long-term residents and newcomers, to revitalize the economy, or simply to help to speed up the rate at which immigrants can learn English, get jobs and buy properties.
In 2014 Baltimore became one of the so-called ‘sanctuary cities’, where police and other city officials are no longer allowed to ask people for evidence of their immigration status. The city is also offering opportunities for quick assimilation and financial establishment to attract more immigrants.
International Rescue Committee executive director Ruben Chandrasekar, whose non-profit organization has partnered with the mayor’s office to offer business loans to immigrants, says the city was built for 900,000 people; however, this went down to 600,000 as a result of the recession, increased crime and the decline of the manufacturing industry. Neighborhoods are now coming back to life thanks to the influx of immigrants.