City leaders think the refugees will rejuvenate the city and bring economic prosperity.
Frankly, I don’t get it, the only economic windfall (in my view) that will flow into Pittsburgh (a federal government “preferred” community) is the federal welfare dollars that follow the refugees—the special grants and special micro-loan deals etc. It isn’t new money, it is just money recycled from the federal taxpayer.
I’m not an economist, but we better soon get some rigorous studies to counter the growing “welcoming” movement!
From National Public Radio:
Studies show immigrants start businesses at a higher rate than non-immigrants, and can raise home values when they move into neighborhoods. [ but do the businesses close soon too?–ed]
Programs like Welcoming Pittsburgh [anything to do with ‘Welcoming America’?—ed] come as a reaction to failed immigration reform, but also because depopulated industrial cities see immigrants as an economic development tool, says Audrey Singer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“A lot of these places are looking for two things: economic activity and population,” Singer says. “Immigrants and refugees are often looked at as a really dynamic group.”
Pittsburgh is just the latest Rust Belt city trying to boost the demographic — just 7 percent of the city’s residents were born outside the U.S., which is low for an urban area. About 40 other U.S. cities have similar programs, including Philadelphia; Chicago; St. Louis, Mo.; Columbus and Dayton, Ohio.
Do those “studies” report the costs of educating the kids, and the cost of low-income housing (Seattle!); taking care of their health needs; the costs to the criminal justice system? I doubt it!
Immigrants under-employed? So what does that tell you? There isn’t a booming economy as a result of immigrants, just more immigrants competing with Americans looking for work.
About 30,000 high-skilled immigrants are underemployed in Pennsylvania. In addition, some see Pittsburgh as parochial and not open to outsiders.
Welcoming Pittsburgh hopes to change that by opening government and coordinating various agencies’ efforts. Singer says it’s too soon to tell if it’s working in other cities, but what some call “deliberate welcoming” enhances the No. 1 thing city residents need: opportunities.
And, near the end, NPR mentions this about their ‘star’ of the story, a well-educated Iraqi refugee (Ammar Nsaif):
Nsaif currently works as a caregiver, earning $1,400 a month, plus SNAP benefits to purchase some groceries, for a family of five.
I’m guessing he is a “caregiver” in a state or federally financed home health care business (he could even be paid to take care of granny at home), he gets food stamps and supposedly supports a family of five on $1,400 a month—yeh right! He is adding to the economy of Pittsburgh? At that salary he surely isn’t even paying taxes.
Where are our studies—just take Nsaif’s case and tell us how much he drains from the US economy!