The US Cities Rolling Out the Welcome Mat
THREE years ago Jenny Salgado, a Dominican shop assistant, moved to Highlandtown, a neighbourhood of pleasant terraces and unpleasant derelict factories in Baltimore. She moved because the cost of living in New York was too high. When she arrived the shop she works in, stuffed with piñatas and religious statuettes, was one of only a few Hispanic businesses. Now there are many more. “It’s good now if you speak Spanish,” she smiles.
Baltimore had been losing people for 60 years. To address this its mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, wants to make it the most immigrant-friendly city in the world. Its libraries provide Spanish-language exercise classes. To help those with no papers, the city is introducing micro-loans which require no credit checks. In 2012 Ms Rawlings-Blake announced that city police would no longer routinely check the immigration status of citizens or enforce any federal immigration law unless explicitly required to. The then governor, Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, made it possible for illegal immigrants to get driving licences.Tags: immigration, welcome