A Different Perspective On The Decline of Mexican Immigration

I have not posted for a while because I don’t want to post just to do it. Most of the articles I’ve read recently have not added any new information. But this one is different.

It’s a report done on Mexicans who lived here, either legally or illegally, and returned to Mexico. The link I provided also contains a PDF link you can look at with more comprehensive statistics. Then there is a poll taken of some who returned to Mexico.

The caveat to the poll of Mexicans who went home is that 600 people were polled, the interviews taking place in 2013. Not an insignificant number, but not comprehensive compared to the total who left. On the other hand, the results ARE very interesting. You might be surprised at how few said they wanted to return to the U.S. at some point.

Good reading.

New Report Shows Why Immigrants Help With Housing Recovery

CBS News featured a story on the benefits of new immigrants to a community. The greater Cleveland area, for example, is still trying to recover from the vacant housing issues in some neighborhoods. The opinion of one policy expert is this:

“Immigration yields a significant impact on home values across the country, occurring most notably in relatively affordable metropolitan areas and neighborhoods,” according to the report. “Controlling for other factors, when an immigrant moves into a community, the price of the average home rises by 11.6 cents.” If 1,000 immigrants arrived, in other words, a home’s value could rise by more than $11,000.”

The above article highlights other points as well, in a new report just released. It’s a good read and interviews other people not involved in the report who provide further analysis.

Cam Asia Market: The Place To Go For Asian Items in NE Ohio

How do you know when you live in a place that is immigrant-rich? By the quality of the international grocery market. Ok, it’s certainly not the only measure, but it’s a darn good one. Thus, CAM Asia on Miles Road.

Yelp is not a daily newspaper website but comments can be just as biting. Not about Cam Asia, however. This time, comments are full of wide-eyed wonderment from people who have that AHA moment after visiting for the first time.

And for good reason! It is like being a kid in a candy store. The variety of produce and packaged goodies is huge – and representative of so many Asian cuisine staples: Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, to name a few.

Oddly enough, I’ve yet to visit the MIles Rd farmers market (yes, I know, long overdue). But I had clients in Richmond Heights last summer and decided to check out Cam Asia afterward. I left with lots of veggies, some Japanese udon and rice noodles, sesame oil (less expensive, by the way, for all these items, at least the ones available other places, than your typical grocery store), some wasabi and prepared pickled noodles that were amazing.

You can read the Yelp reviews here.

I did not see blue crabs when I was there but according to one review, they fly them in. Be still my heart.

Thankfully, we have a large enough immigrant population to support wonderful markets like CAM Asia. Another reason to keep that diverse population flowing.

Innovative Idea To Help Immigrants Build on Their Small Businesses

The Center For An Urban Future highlights 15 Innovative Ideas To Help Mayors Improve Their Cities. I’m highlighting one idea from both Chicago and Los Angeles. It’s called the Immigrant Export Initiative.

Immigrants have language skills, usually at least in one language other than English (sometimes many more). It makes them prime candidates to export their own businesses Internationally. The point I specifically like is this one:

•Multinational Export Forums encouraging immigrant entrepreneurs to share country-specific expertise and collaborate on new export ventures

In Los Angeles, they established a Regional Export Council. If you read it, you’ll see it’s good food for thought.

And while you are there, you can read through the other 14 innovative ideas.

A Thought: Are Immigrant Small Business Entreprenuers Really Any Less Valuable Than Highly Skilled Immigrant Job Candidates?

Much discussion, due to the Immigration Reform Bill (nationally) and Cleveland’s push to bring skilled immigrants here (locally). Not arguing the need for skilled workers to fill the gap on things like unfilled manufacturing jobs here. But there just could be a reason why we don’t want to limit the type of immigrant who comes here.

Small Business Talks wrote a (for me) mind-blowing article on their site about the amazing numbers when looking at small vs. large businesses.

The stats are mind-blowing. More jobs are actually created by small business owners than large firms? This is counter to the ‘growth’ groups – nonprofits and politicians who talk about immigration reform. At least that is what I’ve heard. And these statistics do NOT back up the fact that large firms create more jobs.

It brings me to another point I’ve learned by observing the actions of small businesses. Not only do they create jobs in their establishments. They promote other neighborhood jobs. Many a time I’ve been in stores who are chatting with customers and wind up recommending OTHER business people. I have friends for example, who own a store and they are a wealth of knowledge about who does what service in the community. You need a contractor? Call X, Y and Z. You need a glass blower? Call X. It is truly a chain reaction of making the economic wheel go ’round.

And this is repeated in an apparently high number of small businesses already grinding this wheel forward even before recommending other business people’s work to their customers.

So let’s think about this: if over 97% of the businesses in this country are small and they are the ones creating the most jobs, do we really want to limit the push for immigrants to the ones who will fit into certain high skilled categories? Just asking…

A shout out to Joel Libva (Franchise Biz Directory) for featuring this article on SMB via Twitter.

Small Business Owners, Immigrant and Native, Keeping Suburban Strip Mall Storefronts Going: An Interesting Take on Commercial Gentrification

We all see box stores go belly up and leave a vast emptiness behind. Large buildings and parking lots. The same is true of strip malls in the suburbs, which are apparently in need of or in danger of (depending on your viewpoint) being gentrified. Many feel they waste space but Sustainable Cities writer Kaid Benfield also talks about how affordable the rents are in strip malls compared to fancy new commercial replacements. It affects immigrant shop owners and those who are NOT immigrants as well. Good read.

One quote to show the conundrum of commercial space redevelopment:

“…When we redevelop areas with low-income housing, we know what to do (which is not to say that we always do it):  minimize displacement of residents, find new homes for those who must be displaced, and set aside properties in new development with affordable pricing to help make sure that a revitalizing neighborhood can retain diversity.  An ethic has developed, in many cases adopted into law with inclusionary zoning.

But, as far as I know, there is no comparable, widely understood ethic to protect small, often minority businesses that are harmed by otherwise beneficial neighborhood change, and I am wondering whether there should be…”

I love when a writer makes me think in a way I have not considered before.  Are strip malls pretty? Um, no.  Do they suck up space in an inefficient way? Many times, yes. But maybe they serve a purpose worth preserving, unless or until an equally viable alternative is found.

Emigrating To Cleveland: What Makes Someone Choose Cleveland Anyway?

Still gathering immigration information to post later this week, but wanted to point out a very good article. Phillip Morris of the PD is a kindred spirit on this issue. This past April,  he wrote an article focusing on a man from India who came here and forged his path in a new business that is taking off like the proverbial blockbuster.

The question is, what made him come here? Read Phillip Morris’ New Immigrant Talent article here  for  answers.  Love this story.