It has adopted a plan not only to encourage immigrants to come and feel welcome here, but also to use them to help pull out of an economic tailspin.
Dayton officials, who adopted the "Welcome Dayton" plan unanimously Oct. 5, say they aren't condoning illegal immigration; those who come here illicitly will continue to be subject to U.S. laws.
While states including Alabama, Georgia and Arizona, as well as some cities, have passed laws in recent years cracking down on illegal immigrants, Dayton officials say they will leave that to federal authorities and focus instead on how to attract and assimilate those who come legally.
City leaders aiming to turn Dayton around started examining the immigrant population: Indian doctors in hospitals; foreign-born professors and graduate students at the region's universities; and owners of new small businesses such as a Turkish family's New York Pizzeria on the city's east side and Hispanic-run car lots, repair shops and small markets. They say immigrants have revitalized some rundown housing, moving into and fixing up what had been vacant homes.
"This area has been in a terrible recession, but it would be even worse without them," said Theo Majka, a University of Dayton sociology professor who, with his sociologist wife Linda Majka, has studied and advocated for Dayton's immigrants. "Here we have this underutilized resource."
Anyone looking at the demographics of the US has to realize that this is the way forward (if you'll pardon that overused term--but it seems to fit here).