Jewish World Review Oct 27, 2011 / 29 Tishrei, 5772
Bienvenidos a Dayton and bring your businesses with you
By Dale McFeatters
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Dayton, Ohio, has a lot going for it -- seriously, no joke.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, a center of high-tech war-fighting research and the world's largest military aviation museum. A minor league baseball team, the Dragons, that sells out game after game. A symphony and handsome new performing arts center. A competitive Division I basketball team, the Flyers. An easily accessible airport with a good bar. An under visited Packard auto museum for the serious motor head. And, of course, the Wright Brothers.
But like other Rust Belt cities it has battled the loss of urban population and heavy industry. Particularly cruel was the departure of the city's signature employer, National Cash Register, to Georgia in 2009. The days when Dayton was one of the nation's robust manufacturing centers are long behind it.
Rather than succumb to slow decline, Dayton has adopted what is, in the current climate of suspicion and hostility, a distinctly contrarian plan: The city council unanimously adopted a "Welcome Dayton" policy to attract immigrants, preferably legal ones but the city itself doesn't seem fussy about the proper paperwork, deciding to leave that entirely to the feds instead of going the route of some cities and saddling the local police with that chore.
The city and civic groups are establishing programs to help the newcomers settle in. The idea, according to Mayor Gary Leitzell, an independent, is that the immigrants will bring "new ideas, new perspectives and new talent to our workforce. ... To reverse the decades-long trend of economic decline in this city, we need to think globally."
We hope "Welcome Dayton" pays off for the mayor and his city because it is more akin to the American spirit than campaigns of intimidation and harassment.
Alabama, Arizona and Georgia have adopted sweeping laws against illegal immigrants, in the process frightening even the legal ones who have stayed away from work, pulled their children out of school and avoided contact with officialdom.
Many of them are leaving those states. If they're heading to Dayton, they should try to take their employers with them.
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