The Agenda

Is Immigration a Panacea for Cities in Spirals of Decline?

Shikha Dalmia argues that dysfunctional cities can’t expect immigrants to save them:

It turns out, immigrants aren’t pioneers whose survival depends on conquering an inhospitable frontier. Yes, they can put up with far greater hardship than the native-born, but they aren’t clueless ingenues who are easily seduced. They have word-of-mouth networks that alert them to places that offer them the best economic and social fit, making it difficult to plunk them anywhere and expect results.

And so she recommends that cities that seek to attract immigrants do the same things they’d have to do to attract domestic migrants and to retain residents who have the option of leaving: improve the quality of local public services, contain the tax burden, reduce crime levels, and maintain a hospitable regulatory climate for private firms.