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Cleveland: Immigration News & Discussion

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I recall when I moved to Cleveland in 2002, there was a lot of talk about this issue. I seemed like Asia and Eastern Europe were targeted populations. I  am not sure what happened.  I think small business development was going to be the focus as opposed to just using immigramts for cheap labor

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"I guess my last post was banned because I called the mayor of Cleveland stupid, so I will refrain from name calling.  That being said, why isn't Cleveland investing themselves with immigration?"

 

That's pretty selective memory, but what got your last post locked was the following statement:

 

"Why is Frank Jackson and all of Cleveland's employees so stupid that they are not actively attracting new immigrants to the city?"

 

The question of investing in attracting immigrants to Cleveland is perfectly legitimate and a good discussion topic - making ignorant generalizations like the above are not.

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MayDay...sorry for the post if it offended anyone.  It wasn't meant to be.  I do believe that attracting immigrants is an important issue for Cleveland.  Mayor Jackson has said that it is not important.  He says its more important to focus on the plight of Clevelanders.  This is backward urban development.  That is the point I was trying to make.

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I don't understand why you think it's backwards urban development.

 

Why focus on getting immigrants when there are plenty of people in the city who need help in getting the work themselves? The poor, under class people in Cleveland should not be neglected, and just because they might be uneducated or unqualified should not mean that they're automatically neglected. That's insanity, in my opinion. These people need to know what their options are, and they should get as much help as people can possibly give them to get out of their dire straits. I'm not talking about money hand-outs or welfare or food stamps. I'm talking about helping/encouraging them to get educated to get the jobs that need to be filled by more highly educated workers.

 

Now .. I do think that attracting people from other countries IS important. I think it's hugely important, in fact .. especially in terms of broadening a city's cultural diversity. But it should never happen at the cost of a city's current residents.

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Because it is pretty well established that the U.S. cities that have healthy immigration are doing much better. I read an article a few years ago, I can't recall where, that looked at a lot of cities and their economic/social health and their immigrant populations. Cleveland was among those singled out as having continued problems in part because of low immigration levels. Immigrants tend to revitalize neighborhoods.

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I disagree.  While it is important to help the poor, you need to be realistic.  The poor in Cleveland do not have College degrees and never will.  It's socio-economics. Don't kid yourself.  Factory jobs are long gone and in its place are service jobs.  You need to go to college and at the very least have a high school diploma to have a good job.  The demographics are not there in the city of Cleveland.  If you are at the Cleveland Clinic and you are looking for qualified employees, you are not looking in Cleveland.  I'm sorry, but that's the truth.  This ain't Boston or Chicago or other gentrified cities that have college degree people living in the city.  It is what it is.  A blue collar town.  You're not gonna change that.

 

That being said, I think the leaders of Cleveland need to read some of the works of the top urban development planners in the country.  You need immigrants, artists, and gays to energize a city.  The leaders of Cleveland need to stop living in the past and think about the future.  Clevelanders aren't gonna go to college in record numbers in the future.  You need to think about outside resources.

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^ClevelandRocks,

 

I kind of get the feeling that you just read the Creative Class or a Jane Jacobs book and are trying to apply it to Cleveland. Your points are valid, but reflect a lack of knowledge of the efforts that are ongoing in this city. There are many things that are happening that never get much or any press. I remember before I came back to Cleveland and got into urban planning--I had so many "great ideas that were not being implemented in Cleveland". I'm here now and meet and talk with people everyday who are working to make this city a better place. Believe me, there are a lot of good ideas and well-intended people. It is just much more complicated than having a few good ideas.

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While it is important to help the poor, you need to be realistic.  The poor in Cleveland do not have College degrees and never will.

 

I think that's a bit of an unfair, blanket statement. So what? So we just neglect them? Is that what you're saying? Why don't we just throw them all into a f$&king furnace and be done with them. "People making less than such and such dollar amount, line up here!"

 

I understand that most poor people don't have college degrees. And this is definitely one thing that frustrates me about higher education in this country. If you're poor, you're screwed. There has to be a way to help poor people get educated. Writing them off, though, is not the way to fix the problem. I think cities like Cleveland need to start thinking outside the box. Stop doing things the way they've always been done. It's clearly not working.

 

I personally would rather that the hundreds of millions of dollars going to build this stupid medical mart would go to help people get college scholarships. I don't know if that's the answer, but I just feel like it would end up going MUCH further to help Cleveland's economy than this thing.

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Freedom, I agree with your comments and concerns.  I just do not like the mayor of Cleveland saying he will not participate with attracting immigrants to this region until the plight of Clevelanders are solved.  That is not a viable solution to solve the population decline.  I do agree with you that there are other ideas floating around and my idea isn't the only one on the table, but I think it is irresponsible for the mayor to say he will not court immigrants to the city.

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Well, I agree with you on that. Like I said earlier, immigrants are a vital part of the city.

 

I think they do need to be attracted. But not at the expense of the city's current residents.

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Jpop, the bottom line is the bottom line.  I'm a hardcore liberal democrat, but I'm a reliast.  I'm not saying neglect Clevelanders.  What I'm saying is that there are doctors, lawyers, architects from Eastern Europe who have the degrees and are working minimum wage jobs in the area.  I know.  I talk to them and am friends with them.  Why isn't Cleveland courting immigrants who have degrees in skilled fields?  The entire city of Cleveland is not gonna have a college degree.  You know it and I know it.  I'm not saying we should forget about them, but that deals more with the Governor of Ohio and the federal government in regards to money to go to school.

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"(Immigrants need to be attracted) But not at the expense of the city's current residents."  What is the worst that is gonna happen if immigrants come to the city?  They will help build up areas that are down trodden?  It's not a zero sum game.  Gaining immigrants does not mean that people of Cleveland will somehow have a lesser degree of living.  Everyone wins when immigrants come and rebuild neighborhoods. 

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Funny that Richard Florida got brought up. Richard Florida came up with a formula for creating an ultimately monotonous city, not one that celebrates diversity and I think the "tolerance" aspect of his three Ts that promote economic growth (Technology, Tolerance and Talent) is very exaggerated or misunderstood.

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I have heard a number of anecdotes about how poorly many Cleveland Clinic doctors and CSU graduate professors treat Indian PHD residents and students at their respective institutions, and this may be deterring other immigrants from coming over.  If these doctors and professors could get their act together, it would certainly help negate any prejudicial reputation the area may have.  My "sources" for this information are my sister and her husband who are both Clinic physicians and my raquetball partner who's an Indian resident (and he's not one of those people who chant prejudice all the time) so there actually be a problem here.  All three agree this is a concerning matter, and Cosgrove has yet to address this issue in any formal way.

 

Other than that, I dunno.  Cleveland has a pretty good relationship with Israel and used to have one with Eastern Europe (not sure if we still do) in the early 90s.  I also can't imagine our prohibiting non-American entrepeuners from moving here and establishing a craft. 

 

I've yet to go to Asiatown but I'm sure it's bringing in some immigrants to the area, so maybe things are naturally progressing for the better. 

 

 

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Richard Florida wrote "The Rise of the Creative Class," which I've heard described as "The most important book that nobody read." It's an interesting topic that he manages to make dull. Fortunately, he's a much better speaker than writer. I've heard him discuss his ideas, and monotony definitely is NOT one of them. And I don't think he has any formula for cities. He talks about cities and businesses fostering creativity -- and the creativity is not necessarily from artists. In his view, it's just as likely to come in the manufacturing sector.

 

As for immigrants vs. the existing population of Cleveland: It's not an either-or proposition. Obviously, we need both. The existing population of Cleveland is not going to fill the thousands of vacant homes and businesses. For that, you need immigrants, who may well create jobs that emply current unemployed and underemployed residents. At that same time, we need further efforts to improve opportunities for current residents.

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This ain't Boston or Chicago or other gentrified cities that have college degree people living in the city.

 

 

Ok, well someone tell me what this $80,000 student loan debt got me?

There are a lot of college degreed people living in this city.  Obviously the numbers don't match Chicago or Boston and the proportions may even be way off but I wouldn't say that everyone with a 441-- zip code has struggled to obtain a GED...Come on...

 

A healthy immigrant community brings diversity!  It enlightens our city, making us tolerable of all sorts of people and beliefs. It also lights fires under some of our derrieres-perhaps motivating some people to take control of their lives as they see people moving 1/2 across the world for a crappy job in order to build a new, "free" life in America. 

 

I also don't know what being poor in the city of Cleveland and trying to go to college-OR HELL, FINISH HIGH SCHOOL, has to do w/ immigrants moving to Cleveland! 

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this is an important topic as foreign immigration into ne ohio seems to have ground to a halt. can anyone say if there is any new immigration into ne ohio? even anectdotally? years back there was somewhat of a rush of russian jews into the region and before that some spillover from the columbus somalis. but that was then. anything now?

 

i would suggest the mayor and the state push the feds to keep cleveland in mind during the next world crisis as a possible homebase for refugees. for example, currently there is dafur of course and also the new russian-georgian conflict.

 

as long as it doesn't escalate into a disasterous miami mariel boatlift situation (where cuba emptied it's jails and dumped it's criminals on it's usa doorstep) a controlled flow of refugees might be a quick shot in the arm for some immigration energy.

 

we even have some local ohio history for this --- i'd say the somali refugees have been a net-plus culturally for minneapolis and columbus. for longterm look for example at the vietnamese in texas after the vietnam war.

 

eh, just an idea. sounds like mayor jackson would not be on board.  :|

 

 

 

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MYNYC, I agree with you on all points.  It's a shame that Clevleand isn't pressing the feds harder of being a destination for refugees.  I've seen what the Somalis have done for C-Bus and it was positive.  NE Ohio and Cleveland has so much to offer, but for some reason is not being proactive. 

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Don't think for a second that a lot of political leaders in Greater Cleveland don't know about the potential effects of attracting immigrants. Unfortunately, many of them only see the perceived negative effects, and protectionist/provincialist mentalities don't help... I don't agree with them, but I understand where they're coming from in some respects, considering cheaper labor in places like Mexico, India and China contributed to the decline of manufacturing. But those politicians also know that immigration is such a hot button, they're afraid to go near it - after all, they don't want their constituents to come back and say "they took 'r jobs!!!!" ;-)

 

tookerjobs.jpg

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MYNYC, I agree with you on all points. It's a shame that Clevleand isn't pressing the feds harder of being a destination for refugees. I've seen what the Somalis have done for C-Bus and it was positive. NE Ohio and Cleveland has so much to offer, but for some reason is not being proactive.

 

A lot of people don't like the Somalians and are mad that they don't have to pay taxes (I don't know if it's true that they don't have to but I've heard quite a few people say that at least, during their rants).

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Eparabola,

 

Interesting to hear what you have to say. My wife is a CCF physician and her department is very friendly towards international residents. Maybe that is because it is about 80% international and 20% US born.

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I'm still not certain about the order of events here.  Are immigrants making cities more economically vibrant or are they moving to economically vibrant cities that present them with opportunities.  I'm sure there's a little of both going on in any given city, but I'd bet the latter is the dominant aspect.  In other words, I think that if we want more immigrants, we have to turn our economy around first, instead of hoping that immigrants come here and do it for us.

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I'm still not certain about the order of events here.  Are immigrants making cities more economically vibrant or are they moving to economically vibrant cities that present them with opportunities.  I'm sure there's a little of both going on in any given city, but I'd bet the latter is the dominant aspect.  In other words, I think that if we want more immigrants, we have to turn our economy around first, instead of hoping that immigrants come here and do it for us.

 

Exactly what my thinking is X.  Immigrants won't just come to Cleveland b/c it's Cleveland, or b/c we told them too.  They will come because there are opportunities.  They would probably come at first due to opportunities available where the language barrier would not conflict and not so much for highly professional jobs.  Most American cities had an influx of immigrants in the early 20th century, and it was not because we went to Europe and lobbyed for their people to move here....there was opportunity for people that did not have higher educational skills or training. 

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Here is the data on foreign born population from the US census. You can't select Cleveland (sub-county) because it is fewer than 1 million people. It is interesting to see how Cuyahoga/Cleveland stacks up against other counties, MSA’s, CSA’s with comparable populations.

 

Start crunching:

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/STGeoSearchByListServlet?ds_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_&state=st&qr_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0502&_lang=en&_ts=236523380472

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ClevelandRocks, in the context of our local economy and immigration laws, I'm not sure what you expect local leaders to be doing to attract more immigrants.  And as 3231 summed up nicely, just because you don't see it, doesn't mean many people aren't already doing it or pushing for it.

 

this is an important topic as foreign immigration into ne ohio seems to have ground to a halt. can anyone say if there is any new immigration into ne ohio? even anectdotally? years back there was somewhat of a rush of russian jews into the region and before that some spillover from the columbus somalis. but that was then. anything now?

 

Immigration to NEO is tiny, but it has not ground to a halt.  There is a constant trickle of South and East Asian professionals as well as smaller church sponsored groups from Africa and Asia, and a growing a increasingly diverse group of Latin Americans (not all Boriquas anymore).

 

The PD recently ran this article about a recent group of Karen immigrants, for example:

 

http://www.cleveland.com/plaindealer/stories/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1217925102234101.xml&coll=2

 

I'm still not certain about the order of events here.  Are immigrants making cities more economically vibrant or are they moving to economically vibrant cities that present them with opportunities.  I'm sure there's a little of both going on in any given city, but I'd bet the latter is the dominant aspect.  In other words, I think that if we want more immigrants, we have to turn our economy around first, instead of hoping that immigrants come here and do it for us.

 

That's a great point, but I think it's a whole lot of both, not just a little.  There are neighborhoods in other cities with the same spending power as inner city cleveland hoods but with much more local level retail, almost all of which is immigrant owned.  Even in Cleveland, what percentage of inner city non-chain retail is immigrant owned?  For food stores, it's likely close to 100%.

 

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Immigrants won't just come to Cleveland b/c it's Cleveland, or b/c we told them too. They will come because there are opportunities.

 

Bingo. So endeth the debate.

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Well, this is completely anecdotal, but the Cultural Gardens recently expanded with the addition of Asian Indians.  So there is a newer community that seems determined to contribute to Cleveland.

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Because it is pretty well established that the U.S. cities that have healthy immigration are doing much better. I read an article a few years ago, I can't recall where, that looked at a lot of cities and their economic/social health and their immigrant populations. Cleveland was among those singled out as having continued problems in part because of low immigration levels. Immigrants tend to revitalize neighborhoods.

 

I think you’re right on this issue, UrbanSurfin. Here in NYC over the last twenty years+ hundreds of thousands of new immigrants—of all educational levels (and those possessing no education!)--have arrived with no promises, or even prospects, of jobs. Yet they have thrived by creating jobs themselves (immigrants from the poorest of countries are generally the most ambitious of all since so many left repressive places and they have nothing left to lose), and in the process rehabilitating dying, or stagnant, neighborhoods throughout the city. If anything, their presence has been too successful, since now even the most standard-looking, or even marginal housing stock has become prohibitively costly.

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According to that data, the Cleveland MSA is on pace to have foreign-born in migration of 40,000+ this decade, as opposed to 32,265 in the 90's.

An increase of about 32% seems good.

 

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Don't think for a second that a lot of political leaders in Greater Cleveland don't know about the potential effects of attracting immigrants. Unfortunately, many of them only see the perceived negative effects, and protectionist/provincialist mentalities don't help... I don't agree with them, but I understand where they're coming from in some respects, considering cheaper labor in places like Mexico, India and China contributed to the decline of manufacturing. But those politicians also know that immigration is such a hot button, they're afraid to go near it - after all, they don't want their constituents to come back and say "they took 'r jobs!!!!" ;-)

 

I agree. But I think the residents of Cleveland have the same protectionist attitude, which I can understand .. but I think it impedes progress in the area of diversity so much. It also creates cultural divides because people develop animosity towards these perceived intruders. I think that's horribly disappointing.

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I'm not sure if it is protectionism or just ignorance. Don't think this attitude is limited to Cleveland residents. I think it is human nature to fear what you don't understand.

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I'm not sure if it is protectionism or just ignorance. Don't think this attitude is limited to Cleveland residents. I think it is human nature to fear what you don't understand.

 

True. But speaking specifically in regards to Cleveland, I personally think it's part of the reason that Cleveland faces stifled growth today .. and for the past several decades. I think there needs to be more openness in general.

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Cleveland was open to immigrants, that is how this city was built. This city attracted thousands of immigrant in the first have of the 20th century. Cleveland has suffered slow growth because of its heavy reliance on manufacturing, and its failure to disversify the local economy. Immigrants move to cities with opportunity. I know there are several cities that attract immigrants no matter the local economy (NY, LA and Chicago to name a few). However, Cleveland is not a gateway city. Therefore, to attract immigrants, there needs to be economic opportunity and strong marketing. If the Cleveland economy had experienced strong economic growth over the last thirty years, we would not be having this conversation.

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Cleveland was open to immigrants, that is how this city was built. This city attracted thousands of immigrant in the first have of the 20th century. Cleveland has suffered slow growth because of its heavy reliance on manufacturing, and its failure to disversify the local economy. Immigrants move to cities with opportunity. I know there are several cities that attract immigrants no matter the local economy (NY, LA and Chicago to name a few). However, Cleveland is not a gateway city. Therefore, to attract immigrants, there needs to be economic opportunity and strong marketing. If the Cleveland economy had experienced strong economic growth over the last thirty years, we would not be having this conversation.

 

Probably true.

 

I'll be interested to see what the city looks like a few years from now.

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