Making Springfield An Immigrant-Friendly City: WYSO's Lewis Wallace Talks To Carl Ruby

Feb 20, 2014

Carl Ruby is advocating for making Springfield an immigrant-friendly city.
Carl Ruby is advocating for making Springfield an immigrant-friendly city.

Immigration reform might be dead in Washington for now, but some local advocates are still on the case. One of those is long-time conservative activist and teacher Carl Ruby. He’s part of a new initiative called Welcome Springfield—a takeoff on Welcome Dayton—to work on making Springfield a more appealing place for immigrants.

He says there are a lot of misconceptions about the relationship between immigrants and businesses, including the idea that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes or contribute to economic growth. He points to immigrants throughout U.S. history who have founded companies (including Kraft, U.S. Steel, Yahoo and Google), and says immigrants are twice as likely as native-born citizens to found businesses.

At the same time, many companies rely on workers from other countries to do jobs that local workers either don’t have the skills to do, or don’t want to do because of how difficult it is. He says that’s the reason why small and large businesses across the state are throwing their support behind reform.

Federal policy aside, Ruby thinks Springfield and Dayton can become leaders in the state and even the country in actively inviting immigrant populations to help rebuild their economies and grow their populations. Seven out of Ohio’s eight metropolitan areas have been seeing population decline, and presenting a special appeal for growing populations could help stem that.

Under Construction is WYSO’s series on growth in the greater Dayton area.

We dig underneath the physical and economic markers of growth to look at the human consequences. Check back Thursdays for new installments.