Dayton Aims to become more Immigrant-Friendly

The city commission of Dayton recently approved a “Welcome Dayton” initiative to make the western Ohio city more friendly to immigrants.

Stressing that the city’s immigrant population has contributed to business and job creation as well as housing rehabilitation, the plan sets goals for how the city can institute immigrant-friendly business and economic development policies while better serving its immigrant population through the local government, justice system, social and health services, and education programs.

As part of the “Welcome Dayton” initiative, the city created an “international market place for immigrant entrepreneurship” in a downtown neighborhood by providing special small business grants and developing a marketing plan to promote the business zone.

Some “Welcome Dayton” provisions seemingly apply to undocumented immigrants, CNN pointed out. For example, the creation of a municipal identification card would potentially allow illegal immigrants to open bank accounts and apply for community services.

The plan also calls for more interpreters to improve “language accessibility” at hospitals, social service agencies and within the law enforcement system.

Elsewhere in the country, other cities and states have recently instituted similar measures as those Dayton is considering. For example, New York will begin staffing all state public service agencies with interpreters. Other states, including Alabama, have gone the other direction and are enforcing strict immigration laws.