Friday, August 03, 2007

A Job for Border Guard Bob

If you are itching for another round of brain drain debate, head directly to Pittsblog. I'm frying other fish today. I wish that the Globalization and World Cities network sponsored a blog. The GaWC is trying to understand the relationship between world cities compared to the relationship of a world city to its nation-state host. The Economist newspaper has picked up on this theme, exploring the rising power and ambitions of cities in the arena of national and global politics. The latest concerns urban policy for international migration:

As the federal government has proved itself incapable of formulating an immigration policy, local governments are stepping in as they did on health care and the environment. New Haven, home to Yale University, is already considered a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. It offers help in filing federal taxes, and it has ordered its police not to inquire about immigrants' status. Last week it became the first city to issue its own ID card. All 125,000 residents may have one: legal and illegal, children as well as adults.

Could Pittsburgh invoke a similar policy and at least appear more immigrant friendly? Well, a start would be a better valuation of its Indian community. Furthermore, Pittsburgh should distance itself from Altoona and Hazelton. While establishing itself as a Mecca for H-1B visa applicants is beyond Pittsburgh's control, the New Haven example suggests the city and region could do something.

Thanks to the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, an Irishman had nothing but nice things to say about our city. There is definitely some infrastructure already in place that could help promote international migration to Pittsburgh, as well as foster deeper connections with other world cities. Let's see if any of candidates for mayor are bold enough to embrace a larger foreign presence.

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