An Ohio city wants to become as immigrant-friendly as it can be.
The Dayton City Commission voted unanimously to implement the Welcome Dayton plan.
The idea is to make immigrants feel welcome in the community. The plan is described on the city's Web site as a community-wide initiative designed to attract immigrant groups that can help the city grow jobs, businesses and population.
The plan includes easing potential barriers for immigrants who want to start businesses and developing East Third Street for this particular purpose, according to the initiative report.
The plan also calls for encouraging immigrants to participate in local government and activities and easing language barriers. The report even called for creating a list of city and county employees, as well as volunteers, who speak more than one language and could potentially be called upon for their language services.
While the initiative was approved among heated debates throughout the country about illegal immigration, Dayton officials stressed that the plan had nothing to do with the issue.
The Welcome Dayton plan leaves federal immigration law enforcement to the feds, and instead focuses on making our community one that treats all people kindly, fairly and humanely, mayor Gary Leitzell said in a statement. If you are an illegal immigrant, you will be subjected to the same Federal laws as anyone else.
City manager Tim Riordan said the plan reflected a demographic change taking place throughout the area, the region, and the country. He called on local businesses, schools, and other establishments to take part in the initiative.
Critics conveniently connect the word 'immigrant' with the word 'illegal' when talking about the Welcome Dayton plan, but that's not what this initiative is all about, Riordan said in a statement. We have many good people from all nationalities coming here to invest in the community and to build a better life. The same thing is happening in cities and towns across the country.