On Wednesday, January 15, two of the core participants at the Global Great Lakes Network convening were featured panelists at a Capitol Hill briefing organized by the American Immigration Council and Immigration Policy Center on Revitalization in the Heartland: Welcoming Immigrant Entrepreneurs for Economic Development. The event was moderated by AIC Director Ben Johnson and included Betsy Cohen from the St. Louis Mosaic Project, Steve Tobocman from Global Detroit, and Himar Hernandez from the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Office.
About 50 people attended to hear how the nation’s heartland was moving forward at recognizing immigration as an economic stimulant that provides jobs and prosperity to local communities–including the non-immigrants in those communities. Each panelist explained how their organizations and supporters came to this realization and decided to move forward and embrace immigration as an opportunity for our local communities.
While it remains unclear if the Congress will move pieces of the Senate immigration reform legislation, pass a comprehensive bill, or do nothing on the issue in 2014, we look forward to watching how St. Louis Mosaic, Global Detroit, Iowa State University’s Extension Office and the other visionary programs on-the-ground in the Midwest will produce groundbreaking results through their innovative efforts welcoming immigrant talent and investment, integrating immigrants into our local economies, and reaping the benefits in terms of regional growth, prosperity, and improved quality of life.
The Global Great Lakes Network programs are moving our region and nation forward. Thanks to Ben Johnson and the excellent paper prepared by Paul McDaniel about Detroit, St. Louis, and Iowa. A great day and event.