The Rise of the New Baltimoreans

June 28, 2013. In the Next American City Series, a piece on Baltimore focuses on the role of immigrants in the city’s economy.

“You want to create a context that’s welcoming to everyone,” says Kallick, “and a culture that’s welcoming to everyone seems particularly welcoming to immigrants.” A lowered likelihood of being aggressively questioned for immigration status, goes the thinking, might appeal to an immigrant in perfect compliance with the law as much as it might to an undocumented new arrival.

Under this approach, a city that is more welcoming sees its population grow. As it grows, its tax base broadens. As its tax base broadens, it helps to support the local economy, better educational resources and more policing. In turn, those effects make Baltimore more appealing not only to new immigrants, but also to native-born or long-tenured Americans living elsewhere in the U.S. Thus begins a spiraling in a positive direction. Immigration, in short, becomes part of a city’s population revitalization — but only part of it.