Monday, March 18, 2013

Frank Jackson's Anti-Immigrant Moment

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 3:49 PM


Last week's State of the City speech, a well-feted affair where Frank Jackson laid out the ins and outs of how Cleveland is doing these days, produced the sort of reaction most State of the City speeches do, which is to say few people paid attention.

But, as The Civic Commons points out, there was a moment that merits a look. When asked about immigrants in Cleveland, Jackson responded to a question about the city following Detroit and Philadelphia's lead in welcoming immigrants as a catalyst for economic vigor by saying, "I believe in taking care of your own."

The mayor just went all Toby Keith on us, with or without red cup in hand.

Global Cleveland, a program touted by Mayor Jackson just a few moments back in the rearview mirror, seems to have taken a backseat in the beard's brain. Immigrants, it's argued, arrive in a city and despite bringing more competition for currently existing jobs, also bring capital, revenue, a tax base, and ostensibly, the creation of more jobs. That's not how Franky's feeling, though.

The Mayor's reasoning, though, seems to run counter to that. To paraphrase what he said, take care of your own first, improve the economy for people here and that will attract more immigrants. Let's put aside the fact that he's contradicting what he said two years ago. His is a nice idea, a long term play, but while we struggle to do that in Northeast Ohio our peer cities are improving their own economies by simply opening the doors and welcoming people who want a great place to live right now.

Jackson, as The Civic Commons notes, is the product of immigrants. As are, ya know, we all.

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