Reality Check: Immigrants wanted in the Queen City

Cranley and his immigration task force introduced the plan in July. (FOX19)
Cranley and his immigration task force introduced the plan in July. (FOX19)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - "We're all going to be richer and better off if we're an immigrant friendly city." - Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.

In July the mayor announced a new initiative that welcomes foreign born residents to Cincinnati in an effort to improve its economic base.  But can an influx of immigrants actually be a boom for the Queen City?

For answers, FOX19 NOW looked at a comprehensive study examining the impact of immigration in counties all over the country and the results might just surprise you.

"You might think that immigrants take jobs from natives and the response from natives would be to leave and try to find work elsewhere ... Not only did we not find that, we found the opposite" says former Duke University Professor Dr. Jacob Vigdor, who authored the study.

The study, which examines more than 40 years of Census data, found that for every 1,000 immigrants that moved into a county, 270 native born Americans followed within a decade.

The reason: job opportunities.

"When you have immigration to a county that actually preserves manufacturing jobs. It prevents them from being sent overseas," adds Vigdor.

Cincinnati isn't the first city to try to lure immigrants in an effort to improve its bottom line. Dayton's City Council recently adopted an "immigrant friendly" policy and within months, 400 Turkish immigrants took up residence north of the city, many buying homes that had stood vacant for years.

The study also found that when one immigrant moves into a community the price of the average home rises by 11.6 cents. Multiply that by the 40 million immigrants in the U.S. and that adds $3.7 trillion to housing values nationwide.

The study uses Cuyahoga County Ohio as an example. Had Cleveland's immigrant base expanded at the same rate of other U.S. cities, the average homeowner would find his or her house worth $2,700.00 more than it's worth now.

The bottom line is this: Mayor Cranley claims Cincinnatians will become "richer" if more immigrants can be lured to the Queen City. The numbers bear that out. And that's Reality Check.

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