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Between the Lines: Does Northeast Ohio need an immigrant welcome center?

3:09 PM, Apr 11, 2010   |    comments
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Philadelphia, Boston and Indianapolis already have centers that connect immigrants with schools, housing, programs and jobs.

The Jewish Community Federation, Cleveland State University and immigration advocates and attorneys are pushing to establish one in Cleveland.

Cleveland was built by ethnic groups. But now its foreign-born population is just 5 percent. The national average is 12.5 percent.

Some say Cleveland has a reputation as an "unwelcoming" place for immigrants.

Proponents of the idea claims immigrants could bring energy, ideas and entrepreneurial spirit. Many technoligical jobs here are going unfilled because there's a lack of qualified workers.

But others say the center could be a polarizing force in a struggling city.   

NAACP Executive Director Stanley Miller says a perception of immigrants getting preferential treatment over longtime residents could make it hard to sell.

Tom Beres discusses this issue with Cleveland State Urban Affairs Dean Ned Hill, immigration lawyer Richard Herman, Channel 3 Political Analyst Lee Weingart and former Cleveland mayoral candidate Michael Nelson on this edition of Between the Lines.

WKYC-TV

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