Are Donald Trump & Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson Strange Bedfellows on Immigration? (Part I)

Fusion TV, owned by Univision, was in Cleveland recently, investigating a storyline that the city, playing host to the upcoming Republican National Convention, was seeking to attract thousands of immigrants to help reverse depopulation, revive struggling neighborhoods, and boost entrepreneurship.

The TV producer heard about the Cleveland Mayor’s \”Dream Neighborhood\” program to rehab or build homes for new refugees. She thought that this was a nice angle to juxtapose against the flaming nativist rhetoric and xenophobia of the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

The only problem with this narrative about Cleveland really embracing immigrants, all immigrants (not just refugees), and joining the immigrant-friendly city movement found in nearby rust belt cities, is that it’s false.

Yes, Cleveland is one of the poorest and fastest depopulating cities in the country, despite a recent downtown influx of millennials, in dire need of new blood, new energy, and an army of entrepreneurs, homeowners and consumers. Economic growth in many North American cities (look at Toronto with over 50% of its population born abroad) is being turbocharged by the fresh ideas, hard work, and risk-taking of immigrant newcomers. With only 4% foreign-born, less than 1/3 of the national average, and a mere fraction of foreign-born that are helping to drive the most dynamic cities in North America, Cleveland is no longer plugged into the immigrant pipeline that drove its growth in the early 20th century. It sorely needs to get back into the game as an immigrant-friendly destination for those seeking to launch their American Dream.

But the city leaders are surely not looking now to immigrants as a key part of its renaissance, despite the fact that immigrants are twice as likely to start a business and file a patent, compared to American-born folks like me, and inject a vibrant cultural diversity, consumerism, and economic bridge to markets abroad.

Yes, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, a Democrat, has been talking a bit about immigrants lately. Well, really only refugees. Curiously, he and his political allies do not talk about the majority of other immigrants and their needs in the City of Cleveland. We don\’t hear him talk about the THOUSANDS of undocumented immigrants that live in Cleveland (many married to U.S. citizens, with U.S. citizen children, owning homes and owning businesses).

The city declined to follow the lead of 70 other cities and counties in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of President Obama\’s DAPA program (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, intended to provide temporary relief from deportation to 5 million undocumented folks without criminal records, who have U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident children). Maybe this was because Cleveland leaders are in agreement with Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican, who joined 25 other governors in filing the federal lawsuit against DAPA, saying, “No soup for you!” Curiously, Global Cleveland, a non-profit ostensibly created to drive immigration-based economic development and integration strategies, recently co-hosted a City Club of Cleveland event featuring Daniel Garza, the Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative, an organization that OPPOSES DAPA (not surprising since it’s funded by the Koch brothers).

Cleveland can relax, for now. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a tie vote on June 23, 2016, blocked Obama’s DAPA program in place, leaving the lower court’s order in place.

The real-life issues consequences of a broken immigration system, especially when Congress has long abdicated its responsibility to pass immigration law reform, fall to the cities. At least to those cities that care enough to try and address them. Immigration is an urban challenge and opportunity.

In the past few weeks, after years of civic dialogue, mayors and city councils in Cincinnati and Detroit passed Municipal ID programs to integrate the undocumented in their community (as well as homeless and other marginalized groups). Jackson and his team remain stone silent.

And his silence and inaction on so many immigration-related issues is glaring.

We don\’t hear Jackson or his cohorts address the importance of immigrant entrepreneurs and investors, how it is so imperative for city leaders to attract and support a new wave of immigrant entrepreneurs, who often face unique challenges related to language, culture, and immigration status. Research shows that immigrants are prolific entrepreneurs and have created millions of jobs for Americans. In a city struggling to reinvent its economy, create thousands of new jobs, and revitalize hollowed-out neighborhoods that have been home to some of America’s most gruesome murders and kidnappings, one would think the Cleveland and Cuyahoga County leaders would be aggressively leveraging this asset.

Jackson and his county colleagues are silent on the 10,000 international students that come to Northeast Ohio every year, and the adverse economic consequences for Cleveland in seeing most of the foreign students leave the city sometime after graduation due to worker visa shortages. Of course, without recognizing the problem, city leaders never get around to employing creative workarounds for those students to stay in Cleveland, invest their talent and money AND obtain a visa to remain in the city.

We don\’t hear about the creation of an Office of Immigrant Affairs in City Hall — which many cities in the rust belt have launched in recent years to help drive and coordinate their region’s immigrant inclusion efforts.

________

Continued in Part II.

Richard Herman is an evangelist for welcoming immigrants and the economic contributions they make to American cities. As a lawyer, activist, author and consultant to cities and counties, he has dedicated his life to advocating for immigrants and helping change the conversation on immigration. He is the co-author of the book, Immigrant, Inc. —Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2009) and the founder of the Herman Legal Group — The Law Firm for ImmigrantsTM. www.HermanImmigrationLawyer.com Founded in 1995 and with staff that speaks over 12 languages, the law firm provides immigration counsel to immigrants from around the world from their offices in Columbus, Cleveland and Detroit. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report awarded The Herman Legal Group the designation of “Best Law Firm” in the field of immigration law. Richard has been named to The Best Lawyers in America©, 2015 and 2016, and listed in Super Lawyers© for ten consecutive years. Richard was a founding board member of Global Cleveland and later resigned.

Richard Herman is an evangelist for welcoming immigrants and the economic contributions they make to American cities. As a lawyer, activist, author and consultant to cities and counties, he has dedicated his life to advocating for immigrants and helping change the conversation on immigration. He is the co-author of the book, Immigrant, Inc. —Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2009) and the founder of the Herman Legal Group — The Law Firm for ImmigrantsTM. Founded in 1995 and with staff that speaks over 12 languages, the law firm provides immigration counsel to immigrants from around the world from their offices in Columbus, Cleveland and Detroit. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report awarded The Herman Legal Group the designation of “Best Law Firm” in the field of immigration law. Richard has been named to The Best Lawyers in America©, 2015 and 2016, and listed in Super Lawyers© for ten consecutive years. Richard was a founding board member of Global Cleveland and later resigned.

Author Bio: Richard Herman is an evangelist for welcoming immigrants and the economic contributions they make to American cities. As a lawyer, activist, author and consultant to cities and counties, he has dedicated his life to advocating for immigrants and helping change the conversation on immigration. He is the co-author of the book, Immigrant, Inc. —Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2009) and the founder of the Herman Legal Group — The Law Firm for ImmigrantsTM. www.HermanImmigrationLawyer.com Founded in 1995 and with staff that speaks over 12 languages, the law firm provides immigration counsel to immigrants from around the world from their offices in Columbus, Cleveland and Detroit. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report awarded The Herman Legal Group the designation of “Best Law Firm” in the field of immigration law. Richard has been named to The Best Lawyers in America©, 2015 and 2016, and listed in Super Lawyers© for ten consecutive years. Richard was a founding board member of Global Cleveland and later resigned.

Category: Politics
Keywords: Donald Trump, RNC, Cleveland, Frank Jackson, City Hall, Immigrants, Immigration, Mexicans, Muslims

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