Revitalization in the Heartland of America: Welcoming Immigrant Entrepreneurs for Economic Development
A potent combination of declining population growth and economic stagnation has led many citiesand metropolitan regions to rethink how to reinvigorate their communities. The Midwest is a primeexample of this trend. According to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, “the Midwest cannot hopeto keep up with other regions or international competitors without a vital entrepreneurial sector.”1 TheCouncil notes that “immigrants, risk takers by nature, are unusually successful entrepreneurs, morethan twice as likely as native-born Americans to start their own firms.”2 As a result, immigration is oneof the strategies to which communities are repeatedly turning to fuel economic growth. A buddingplace-based awareness of the important contributions that new and existing immigrants make toneighborhood revitalization is seen in the increasing number of cities pursuing a nexus of immigrantwelcoming, integration, and economic development initiatives. In this report, we focus on the journeysof three places—two cities and one state—in their efforts to implement strategies for future economicsuccess that depend on immigration. The initiatives are taking place against a backdrop of tepidprogress toward comprehensive federal reform of the U.S. immigration system.
American Immigration Council