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How Immigrants Revitalize Communities

A leading contributing factor behind population growth in Central Ohio are immigrants and refugees; in recent years, of the newcomers coming to Central Ohio from outside the state, half are international immigrants. The United States is home to the highest number of immigrants in the world. Some 50 million Americans —about 15% of the country’s population, were born in a foreign country. In Columbus, the nation’s 14th largest city, ten percent of the city’s residents are foreign born, a number that’s only expected to rise. Central Ohio’s reputation for affordable living and abundant employment opportunities, plus the presence of support networks and aid organizations, have long made the region an attractive destination for immigrants. But attitudes toward immigration are shifting yet again in America, and Columbus is no longer as affordable as it was just a decade ago. Can our region continue to attract immigrants to fill critical jobs and add to Central Ohio’s cultural and economic vitality?

Featuring Ukeme Awakessien Jeter, City of Upper Arlington, Council President & Mayor, and Partner, Taft Law; Kim Emch, Founder and Executive Director, Festa; Guadalupe Velasquez, Managing Director, Welcoming City; Sudarshan Pyakurel, Executive Director, Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio; and hosted by Peter Gill, Immigration Reporter / Report for America, The Columbus Dispatch.