Chicago is Rated the Most Immigrant-Friendly City in the United States
Chicago has been suffering a net loss of immigrants since 2015. This trend is more than a little ironic since in November 2019 Chicago was listed as the No. 1 most immigration-friendly city among the nation’s 100 largest cities. The ranking is based on the second annual Cities Index issued by the New American Economy, a bipartisan immigration advocacy group. As a while, the Midwest region of the United States outperformed all other regions.
This honor is of no small significance. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, in a statement welcoming Chicago’s top ranking, described Chicago public officials and community activists as people “who have come together to stand up and fight for the rights of our immigrant and refugee communities, no matter the cost.”
Factors that Influenced Chicago’s High Ranking
Following are some of the factors that influenced Chicago’s top ranking, 4.38 out of 5 possible points:
Government leadership, where Chicago received a perfect score;
Civic participation, where Chicago’s score was relatively low;
Naturalization to citizenship rate among foreign-born participation (nearly 77 percent in Chicago);
Labor force participation rate;
Percentage employed in high-prestige occupations such as medicine;
Entrepreneurship rate, which was significantly higher among the foreign-born than the US-born;
Home ownership rate;
Percentage of foreign-born population covered by health insurance;
Percentage of foreign-born population with various educational attainments such as high school diplomas, bachelor’s degrees, and advanced degrees;
Poverty rate; and
Percentage who received benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, welfare, or Social Security benefits (with the exception of food stamps, foreign-born Chicagoans received these benefits at a significantly lower rate than US-born Chicagoans did.)
Who is Involved in the Partnership for a New American Economy?
The Partnership for a New American Economy was founded in 2010 by media luminaries as Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch. It is also composed of a lot of other important people — CEOs of major corporations such as Boeing, Disney, and Hewlett Packard, to begin with, as well as a number of big-city mayors who recognize the contributions of immigrants to their local economies.
What Does the Partnership for a New American Economy Stand For?
What binds all these people together is a core commitment to certain goals in US immigration law and policy. While some Americans advocate open borders, others counsel hanging a “No Vacancy” sign on the Statue of Liberty’s torch. The New American Economy, by contrast, takes the middle path of immigration reform.
The Partnership for a New American Economy advocates immigration reform as essential to the repair and stimulation of the US economy. Although it supports secure borders and opposes illegal immigration, it does support legal reforms that would make it easier for immigrants to come to the US legally, such as creating more opportunities for immigrants to join the U.S. workforce.
It also supports building a bridge to eventual citizenship for qualifying undocumented immigrants. Naturally, if this plan is actually implemented, it would be a welcome development for the estimated 400,000 undocumented immigrants living in Illinois. Keep in mind that Chicago hosts far more undocumented immigrants than any other location in Illinois.