Underneath the partisan bashing over immigration, localities have been responding to their demographic crises by recruiting immigrants. Here are case studies of Iowan localities and St. Louis, MO.
Greene County, Iowa, 70 miles northwest of Des Moines, was shaken by the departure of a truck manufacturer due in part to dwindling workforce. It launched Nueva Vida en Greene County. “Organizers said they plan to advertise Greene County to Latinos on social media, radio, television and billboards, and employers will arrange for vans to bring in workers as soon as this summer. Civic leaders are planning educational activities to integrate the community, with classes about soccer, language, and arts and culture, and they also are exploring ways to fix the area’s acute housing shortage.” (From here.)
Perry, where nearly 1 in 3 of the city’s 7,500 residents are Latinos and many work in meatpacking plants and construction.
Storm Lake, 70 miles northwest of Greene Country, is the fastest growing city in Iowa due to Hispanic influx to the Tyson meat processing plants. These plants are now paying $20 an hour, compared to $6 in the mid 2000s. (Also go here.)
St Louis having had good experience with Bosnian immigrants, is now actively attracring Afghan refugees. “St. Louis has a chance to create a thriving immigrant community similar to that of Bosnian refugees, who arrived a generation ago…..We’ve been losing ground to other cities, because our population as a region has been stagnant. We have an opportunity to reverse this trend, but we have to act now.” “International Institute President Arrey Obenson expects the number of Afghan refugees in the city will soon double to more than 1,500 people. He and other community leaders want the region to become a destination for Afghan people and say that could attract more refugees from other parts of the United States.” (From here.)
The Archdiocese of St. Louis, the International Institute, the business nonprofit ArchGrants and other groups announced today that they aim to help refugees already in the area and attract other Afghans to St. Louis by offering housing assistance, business grants and other services. The group also plans to establish an Afghan newspaper and chamber of commerce to serve the new residents, along with soccer fields and a community center.