Immigration and Its Impact on American Cities

Immigration and Its Impact on American Cities

Immigration and Its Impact on American Cities

Immigration and Its Impact on American Cities

Synopsis

Immigration to the United States continues to be a topic of scholarly and political debate. This study extends the literature analyzing the financial impact of immigration on local governments by developing a model for measuring revenue and expenditure changes associated with immigration. The model and related empirical findings will assist local government policy makers in managing immigration in their jurisdictions. The work utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methods, including field interviews with legal and illegal immigrants, a delphi survey of national and local immigration experts, and multiple forecasting techniques. Additionally, the case example of a specific host community, the City of Miami, Florida, illustrates and evaluates the impact model's efficacy to local government administrators. This work will be of interest to scholars, policy makers, and local government decision makers in public administration, urban studies, and regional economics.

Excerpt

This book is about how immigration affects American cities and how local government decision makers can effectively manage immigration's impacts. In 1990, an estimated 1.5 million legal immigrants entered the United States. While immigration policy is the purview of the federal government, cities, as host communities, bear a substantial financial burden for the direct provision of services utilized by immigrants. Previous empirical research on immigration focuses largely on federal and state impacts, neglecting locallevel impacts. As a result, local governments have not developed the strategies necessary for evaluating the specific effects of immigration for purposes of decision making and planning. In addition, local officials have not effectively lobbied for increased resources from state and federal channels. Therefore, this book addresses the following fundamental question: What impacts do immigrants have on local government revenues and expenditures?

This question is particularly important because the number of immigrants and their magnitude of effect on government is expected to grow (General Accounting Office, 1994). The migration process creates its own self-propelling momentum as early immigrants attract fellow countrymen (Massey, 1990). In addition, recent revisions of immigration law have substantially expanded the number of annual visas. Agreements with Cuba, and instability in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Far East, and various Caribbean and Latin American nations suggest that the flow of immigration may accelerate exponentially over the next two decades.

The effects of contemporary immigration patterns are compounded because the current wave is suggested to be very different from past waves. Rather than a concentration from a few European countries, immigrants today come from virtually every region of the world, expanding the variety . . .

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