I think Sanda Kaufman, Ph.D.

, professor of Planning, Policy, and Public Administration at Cleveland State University, is a brilliant scholar , an immigrant success story, and a well-intentioned, kindred spirit. But I’m not quite sure what to make of her Op-Ed, “Immigration Is Not Magic Bullet for Regional Economic Development, in today’s Plain Dealer, which appears to be supporting the Mayor’s comments and immigration policies, or lack thereof. First, the piece states: “A decade ago, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's task force on immigration 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 that investing public resources to attract immigrants is not a magic bullet for regional economic development. In fact, it might not be a 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. Jane Campbell convened an immigration task force, not Frank Jackson.

Second, Dr. Kaufman favorably refers to the Frank Jackson’s controversial immigration-related comments that were made at his recent State of the City address.. She writes: “Given Cleveland's current population makeup, a strategy aiming to rapidly grow immigrant communities may be an uphill battle; it will not significantly bolster the economy in the short run. As with all development efforts, do not think of immigrants as a quick fix to the city's or region's population decline…..Since we can't afford to waste scarce public resources, we have to hope that decision makers' mental models of where immigrants choose to go match reality and are supported by data. It is important to make the best use of what we have, know what we are reasonably likely to attain, manage resources

policies and inaction on immigration –related issues. of Mayor Frank Jackson’s statements. if and when needed immigration reform occurs. myself. This was published in Immigrant. Inc. reprinted in the Plain Dealer: “An aversion to immigrants permeated the region's political leadership and peaked at City Hall.effectively and measure success in quality-of-life terms rather than just changes in population size. a multi-racial mayor who identified most strongly with his African American roots. and others. Taking care of our own. many people were perplexed by his response to a question from the audience on whether Cleveland should embrace the immigration-based economic development strategies being touted by a growing chorus of mayors or other elected officials in Philadelphia.” For some reason. by Robert Smith and myself. told civic groups he did not trust immigrants to help his people. instead of this plain dealer page which contains criticism from Brian Tucker (editor of Crain’s). we will be better positioned to welcome any groups who want to call Cleveland home. Indianapolis. the link on Frank Jackon’s phrase “taking care of our own” phrase. Folks shouldn’t have been surprised. Baltimore. Mayor Frank Jackson dismissed suggestions that the city try to attract immigrants to revive inner city neighborhoods that were mostly black and poor. no matter their origin or ethnicity. Frank Jackson has said this many times before. is a good first step toward attracting others. Louis. Then. Detroit. St. Dan Moulthrop. in 2009. Jackson. takes the reader to this plain dealer page which contains no relevant information. Rather than supporting Frank Jackson’s statement (and record on the issue). and elsewhere. Dayton. .

their family and friends will follow. Kaufman’s recent piece that seems to suggest that because resources are scarce. celebrating them. inclusion and global competitiveness. at least not within the next few generations. Taking care of the immigrants we have. For it to happen in the next 10 years. on policies of inclusion at all levels of local government. and extending to his disinterest to implement immigrant-friendly policies at City Hall. It is true. on changing attitudes. And the city has suffered and fallen behind other cities which are now growing. supporting them. Starting with his treatment of the Somali and Ethiopian-owned taxi companies who were excluded from working at the Hopkins Airport. "I will not be against it. Kaufman argues that people-based strategies are key to attracting the immigrants most likely to come to Cleveland. failure to hire immigrants in significant positions at City Hall. "However. as we move ahead. etc. corporations. Rather than try to unite the city and lead this discussion on diversity. I'm always interested in the self-help mode. . the Mayor’s actions have spoken volumes on his view of immigrants and their role in Cleveland’s economic. the Mayor has run away from the challenge. in taking care of our own. But I respectfully disagree with Dr." Jackson told The Plain Dealer in early 2009. as Dr. Kaufman point out. we shouldn’t be investing so much in peoplebased strategies. Dr. we will need to make a big push for raising awareness on why immigration is important to Cleveland. political and civic circles. that immigrants coming to cities like Cleveland are often drawn by personal relationships." Apart. his actions over the last 7 ½ years also tell the story. foundations. When they are comfortable and successful. I believe that the creation of an “immigrant-friendly” city will not happen organically. I couldn’t agree more. connecting and integrating them into our community is key.If someone else wanted to try to draw immigrants to Cleveland. from his words.

but in leadership and political capital. In fact.” (funded by Ruth Ratner Miller Center for Greater Cleveland’s Future) suggests that a robust effort be embraced to create a welcoming environment for new immigrants to Cleveland: “Therefore. whether government-initiated or sponsored by non-profit and private groups. focusing on those most likely to assist newcomers and become an incentive for choosing of the Cleveland region. Dr. several complementary streams of action should be considered: ▪ Learn from the experience of larger immigration magnets about absorption services local governments can offer. are necessary to alleviate the inevitable tensions created by the arrival to a region of people with different languages and cultures. It seems that once the seeds of such efforts are planted. Kaufman’s 2003 paper “Immigration and Urban Development: Immigrations for Greater Cleveland. the challenge for the Cleveland region is to design strategies that compete successfully with other cities that are positioned to attract immigration. ▪ Capitalize on already-existing immigrant communities in the region and assist them in becoming adept at welcoming newcomers by strengthening existing nonprofits and private local initiatives to attract immigrants from specific countries. To this end. either because of their skills matching local demand or because existing immigrant communities might assist in their absorption. as well as enable Cleveland to target those immigrant groups with the highest likelihood of succeeding at their new location.This will take tremendous civic investments --. they have a tendency to snowball as positive experiences with intercultural . ▪ Education efforts.not so much in financial capital. A key component of such strategies is to help build the social networks that immigrants are known to favor in order to ease the transition to their country of adoption.

http://www. But Cleveland business leaders will not push this kind of creative. (heck. he wouldn’t even sign the sister-city agreement last month with the mayor of Zhongshan.com/PPA_FederalImmigrationPolicy. An embarrassing moment for the Cleveland business/political/education/cultural trade mission last month ) As a result. the Great Lakes Metro Chamber immigration policy was drafted out of Cleveland. gamechaging proposal unless there is serious commitment on the ground in Cleveland. For more on the policy adopted by the Great Lakes Metro Chambers (30 chambers from Chicago to Pittsburgh).C. become incentives for newcomers to come to the region seeking the positive climate. in turn. a city of 5 million people. and the advantages of developed social networks” On this point. in not aggressively advocating for region-based visas (or “high skilled immigration zones”) as part of the immigration reform discussion in D. and despite the roots of many ChineseAmericans in Greater Cleveland in the Guandong Province. despite affluent families in Zhongshan sending their kids to Catholic High School in Cleveland. Dr. In part because of a vacuum of leadership and in part because of indifference or opposition.aspx. progressive. And. But the Mayor has done none Our current Mayor is not willing to expend financial or political capital to do this. talks of going the other way. despite nearly 2 million dollars flowing from Zhongshan into Cleveland development project. see http://greatlakesmetrochambers.contacts lead the local population to be more welcoming of immigrants and. .com/politics/2013/05/insanely-clear-cut-caseregion-based-immigration-visas/5475/ In fact. For example. Which doesn’t yet exist. Cleveland is losing a tremendous opportunity right now. others are less likely to enter the discussion or take leadership roles. in fact. Kaufman is right on the money! of this. China. the LED capital of the world.theatlanticcities.

We are applying to be an affiliate of Welcoming America. global city--. What has to happen is to win the hearts and minds of the community. it seems. or plan new research papers or books to make the case. State Department. other than Cinco de Mayo. the politicians. The economic case has been made for the global city. has struggled with this issue for over 10 years. But. have all taken their stab at it. all is not doom and gloom. We don’t have to wait. But it is also critical that corporate and willing-political leadership join this conversation. Minneapolis has attracted over 100. it’s not about building an immigrant city.000 refugees in the last 20 years which has boosted its tax base. For us. This is why a group of us are working on establishing Welcoming Cleveland ---. There are plenty of small things happening. people-driven conversation to encourage intercultural alliances between African Americans. A new conversation built on trust. And Dr.a grassroots. PR whizzes. Latinos and Immigrants. is leveraging refugee resettlement programs funded by the U. seems to indicate buy-in or even casual interest from Frank Jackson. and friendship needs to happen. or a black or white city.Another example of a missed opportunity. Nothing out of City Hall.and ensuring that prosperity is equitably shared. home ownership and small business sector. intercultural alliances. welcoming them and connecting them to Cleveland. The academics. in part due to a vacuum of leadership on the issue. The key is raise awareness and demonstrate that economic growth is not a zero sum game. It’s time to take the conversation to the people.S. Kaufman’s study in 2003 recommended special outreach to Latino immigrants. Much money and time has been expended. particularly Mexican. It’s about building a multicultural. . Cleveland. the lawyers.

Let’s not shy away from this conversation ---.and competing to win.” Those working on the issue know that immigration is a supplement.let’s run toward it. not a substitute. Join us! . It’s about building the most powerful teams on the planet --. to ensuring the education and readiness of the American workforce.Immigration-based economic development strategies have never been about being a “magic bullet.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful