Following similar efforts in cities such as Dayton, Detroit, and Chicago, Baltimore is throwing out the welcome mat to immigrants, "in the hope they will encourage friends and family to join them," and reverse decades of population decline, report Carol Morello and Luz Lazo.
"Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) has told Latinos, in particular, that she is counting on them to help Baltimore gain 10,000 families within a decade," write Morello and Lazo. "As a first step, she signed an order in March prohibiting police and social agencies from asking anyone about immigration status - and in the order, she explicitly asked federal immigration authorities to tell anyone they arrest that they are not agents of the city."
According to Morello and Lazo, the "tipping point" that drove cities to change their attitudes towards immigrants was the 2010 census. "Most cities that grew had Hispanics and, to a lesser degree, Asians to thank. Cities with few immigrants lost political power and federal money as district lines and funding formulas changed to reflect new census numbers."
Baltimore's pro-immigrant agenda is just one element of the mayor's strategy to increase the city's population. Other elements include, "programs that aim to improve public schools, reduce crime, cut property taxes and create jobs, increasing the city's appeal to all residents."