Opinion: Skilled Immigrants Are Uptapped Assets for Regional Economic Development

National Journal
October 17, 2012

What do Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Dayton, Ohio, have in common? Each of these cities has endured decades of shrinking population—and each has recently identified skilled immigrants as a vital component of a healthy economy. Their economic-development agendas recognize that attracting and retaining talented newcomers is an important part of regional economic success.

As director of the national nonprofit IMPRINT, a coalition focusing on skilled-immigrant integration, I’m fortunate enough to be engaged with a number of such municipal initiatives. Their budding efforts hold intriguing promise for other cities.

It’s important to note that these efforts aren’t simply about recruiting raw numbers of newcomers. Policymakers must have a developed strategy for whom they plan to attract and integrate, as well as why and how it should be done.

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About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…