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Local Policies for "Immigrant-Friendly" Cities

Local Policies for "Immigrant-Friendly" Cities

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How to make your city immigrant friendly. good starting point in an important civic conversation.
How to make your city immigrant friendly. good starting point in an important civic conversation.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Richard Herman, Cleveland Immigration Lawyer on Nov 21, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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As immigrants spread beyond traditional city hubs, many cities that would like to

adopt welcoming policies towards them find themselves in unfamiliar territory.
Similarly, cities with longstanding immigrant populations, many of which have
already implemented immigrant-friendly policies, would like to do more as well as make
their policies more relevant and effective in the context of an increasingly hostile national
climate towards immigrants.

We offer in the following sections a detailed menu of progressive policies for cities
interested in dealing in humane and effective ways with the country’s new socio-
demographic reality in the 21st century. The policies described are local in nature; aim
at using the always-scarce material resources and political energy of cities in an efficient
manner; in most cases are meant to benefit natives, directly or indirectly, as much as
immigrants; and have the ultimate goal of contributing to the development of cities of
shared prosperity.

Some very general principles underlying the menu of policies are the following. First,
all other things being the same, universal policies are preferred over particularistic or
categorical policies. Second, all other things being the same, policies that are potentially
appealing to broadly based political coalitions are preferred to policies that are not.
Third, policies involve working with and empowering existing community-based
organizations that immigrants already know, trust, and respect whenever possible.
Last, policies address as much as possible legitimate concerns about the effects of new
immigrants on other residents’ quality of life.

The report examines policies in four key policy areas:

• The enforcement of immigration law’s civil provisions

• Employment

• Health care

• Other basic services

This report does not address other important policy areas, key among them education
(including English as a second language) and housing. These two areas are undoubtedly
central to any comprehensive approach to improving immigrant integration for the
benefit of immigrants and the communities in which they reside. However, given the
expansive nature of these topics, we do not cover them here.

Throughout this report we refer to many city ordinances and resolutions, to proposed
legislation, and to numerous other texts. Many of these documents can be consulted
online at www.cows.org/citiesandimmigration.

10 | Cities and Immigration

The Enforcement of Immigration
Law’s Civil Provisions


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