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Published by: Richard Herman, Cleveland Immigration Lawyer on May 05, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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I think Sanda Kaufman, Ph.D., professor of Planning, Policy, and PublicAdministration at Cleveland State University, is a brilliant scholar , an immigrantsuccess story, and a well-intentioned, kindred spirit.
But I’m not quite sure what to make of 
her Op-Ed, 
in today’s Plain Dealer, whichappears to be supporting the Mayor’s comments a
nd immigration policies, or lack thereof.First, the piece states:
 A decade ago, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's task force onimmigration approached the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University for data and analysis
to help city officials explore immigration as a means of growth for the city. Based on our research, we concluded thatinvesting public resources to attract immigrants is not a magic bullet for regional economic development. In fact, it might not bea wise use of scarce public resources on which to pin hopes for
rebuilding the city.”
  As far as I can tell, the research that Dr. Kaufman conducted on immigration and Cleveland was commissioned by in 2002 and published in May, 2003.
 Frank Jackson was not Mayor.
Jane Campbell occupied City Hall. JaneCampbell convened an immigration task force, not Frank Jackson.
Second, Dr. Kaufman favorably refers to the
Frank Jackson’s
controversialimmigration-related comments that were made at his recent State of the Cityaddress.. She writes:
Given Cleveland's current population makeup, a strategy aiming torapidly grow immigrant communities may be an uphill battle; it willnot significantly bolster the economy in the short run. As with alldevelopment efforts, do not think of immigrants as a quick fix to thecity's or region's population decline
Since we can't afford to wastescarce public resources, we have to hope that decision makers' mentalmodels of where immigrants choose to go match reality and aresupported by data. It is important to make the best use of what wehave, know what we are reasonably likely to attain, manage resources
effectively and measure success in quality-of-life terms rather than just changes in population size.
,no matter their origin or ethnicity, is a
good first step toward attracting others. Then, if and when neededimmigration reform occurs, we will be better positioned to welcome any groups who want to call Cleveland
 For some reason, the link on
Frank Jackon’s phrase “taking care of ourown” phrase, takes the reader to 
this plain dealer page  which contains
no relevant information, instead of  this plain dealer page  which contains
from Brian Tucker (editor of Crain’s), Dan Moulthrop, myself,
and others,
of Mayor Frank Jackson’s statements, policies and inaction
on immigration
related issues.
Rather than supporting Frank Jackson’s statement (and record on the issue), many
 people were perplexed by his response to a question from the audience on whether Cleveland should embrace the immigration-based economic developmentstrategies being touted by a growing chorus of mayors or other elected officials inPhiladelphia, Baltimore, Dayton, Detroit, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and elsewhere.
Folks shouldn’t have
been surprised.Frank Jackson has said this many times before. This was published inImmigrant, Inc. in 2009, by Robert Smith and myself, reprinted in the PlainDealer : 
“An aversion to immigrants permeated the region's political
leadership and peaked at City Hall. Mayor Frank Jacksondismissed suggestions that the city try to attract immigrants torevive inner city neighborhoods that were mostly black and poor.Jackson, a multi-racial mayor who identified most strongly withhis African American roots, told civic groups he did not trustimmigrants to help his people.
If someone else wanted to try to draw immigrants to Cleveland, "I will not be against it," Jackson told The Plain Dealer in earl2009. "However, as we move ahead, I'm always interested in theself-help mode, in taking care of our own."
Apart, from his words, his actions over the last 7 ½ years also tell the story.Starting with his treatment of the Somali and Ethiopian-owned taxi companies whowere excluded from working at the Hopkins Airport, failure to hire immigrants insignificant positions at City Hall, and extending to his disinterest to implementimmigrant-friendly policies at City Hall
, the Mayor’s actions have spoken volumeson his view of immigrants and their role in Cleveland’s economic, political and
civic circles.Rather than try to unite the city and lead this discussion on diversity, inclusion andglobal competitiveness, the Mayor has run away from the challenge. And the cityhas suffered and fallen behind other cities which are now growing.Dr. Kaufman argues that people-based strategies are key to attracting theimmigrants most likely to come to Cleveland. It is true, as Dr. Kaufman point out,that immigrants coming to cities like Cleveland are often drawn by personalrelationships.
I couldn’t agree more. Taking care of the immigrants we have, supporting them,
celebrating them, connecting and integrating them into our community is key.When they are comfortable and successful, their family and friends will follow
But I respectfully disagree with Dr. Kaufman’s recent piece that seems to suggestthat because resources are scarce, we shouldn’t be investin
g so much in people- based strategies.
I believe that the creation of an “immigrant
friendly” city will not happen
organically, at least not within the next few generations. For it to happen in thenext 10 years, we will need to make a big push for raising awareness on whyimmigration is important to Cleveland, on changing attitudes, on policies of inclusion at all levels of local government, corporations, foundations, etc.

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