Columbus, other Midwestern cities seek to be immigrant-friendly

Columbus, Ohio, was one of the nation’s earliest adopters of immigrant-friendly outreach. /FlickrCC:Stephen Wolfe
Columbus, Ohio, was one of the nation’s earliest adopters of immigrant-friendly outreach. /FlickrCC:Stephen Wolfe

By Mike Maciag | Governing

Coastal cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and New York have long been viewed as the gateways for immigrants starting new lives in America.

In recent years, however, a different set of cities has laid out the welcome mat. Many of them are older Midwestern cities that have rarely been thought of as immigrant meccas. Places like Indianapolis and Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, have pursued a wide range of immigrant-friendly strategies, in part to prop up vulnerable economies and stem population losses. Other Rust Belt jurisdictions are joining them. “The Midwest is becoming the new gateway,” says Guadalupe Velasquez, who coordinates the New American Initiative for the city of Columbus.

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