While some cities are attempting to drive immigrants out, others are welcoming them with open arms. As a Wall Street Journal writer asserts, "All booming American cities are immigrant cities."Here's my favorite quote, though:
"The fate of a two-year-old war on illegal immigrants declared by the mayor of tiny Hazleton, Pa., a former coal town, is now in the hands of a federal judge. He will rule by June on Hazleton's Illegal Immigration Relief Act, which penalizes local businesses and landlords who employ or rent to illegal immigrants."
"During the nine-day trial that concluded last Friday, Mayor Lou Barletta argued that some 10,000 undocumented immigrants have ruined Hazleton's quality of life...Yet business owners and landlords argued the opposite -- that immigrants had revitalized Hazleton's moribund economy, filling once-vacant apartments and patronizing once-declining businesses."
"In other cities the verdict is already in: Immigrants have significantly improved the quality of life in many of America's most successful cities. Take Flushing, Queens."
"All booming American cities are immigrant cities. It's practically tautological. Cities that welcome immigrants -- both legal and illegal -- tend to have vital economies that expand exponentially as immigrants open new businesses, fill vacant jobs and move into declining neighborhoods."
In the 1960s Flushing was a wasteland, those same storefronts boarded up and the sidewalks empty -- so derelict that the area was designated in the city's 1975 federal community development block grant application as eligible for urban renewal money. Then came the Chinese immigrants, first in small numbers, then in great waves, through the 1980s and '90s. Long-time city planning official Sandy Hornick summarizes the 1970s as "back when we were trying to figure out what to do with Flushing before Flushing figured it out for itself."Apparently, immigration is back to being a hot topic. Maybe because we're approaching the one-year commemoration of the big rallies against Bush's proposed immigration policy. Here's something from The Guardian, a few days ago:
New York would lose around 100,000 residents a year if overseas immigrants were not filling the void, the census bureau figures for 2000 to 2006 show. Los Angeles and Boston would also shrink without immigrants, threatening their economies and property markets.It's a pity that many Indonesian urban planners still view urban in-migration (i.e., people coming from the villages into the cities) as a liability rather than asset.
PS: "We're all Immigrants" photo from city-data.com