Protesters in Los Angeles.
  A pro-immigration demonstration in Los Angeles on May 1. Sandy Huffaker - Getty Images

Cities do not fear migration, they manage it

Blog post by François Crépeau
15 September, 2015

All over the world, cities have been much less fearful about migration. Since cities haven’t had walls for several centuries and because they had to absorb the 20th century rural exodus, thus growing to be multiple times as big as they were, cities have learned to cope with migration, to adapt to change, and to benefit from the influx of energy, ideas, creativity and wealth that migration produces.

Mostly, cities do not fear migration, they do not rant against it: they manage it, they find creative pragmatic solutions to individual problems, they invest in infrastructure that can welcome the added numbers. Cities are in the business of dealing with communities, trying to create a local framework conducive of social relationships as harmonious as possible, by facilitating mobility, fostering diversity, developing interconnectivity, through urban planning, public transit investments, community institutions, public participation, etc. This is why we have seen very innovative policies at local level, which stand in contrast to the reactive and repressive nationalist populist stance often heralded by politicians at national level.

Cities can absorb a lot more immigration, as they have done in the past. States need to encourage them to do so, empowering them to create the appropriate tools and allowing them the resources necessary to invest appropriately in mobility and diversity policies that actually work.

Suggested reading: ”Where to Go for Real Immigration Reform” published in The New York Times.

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