City partners with UT to conduct a study to increase immigrant inclusion

City partners with UT to conduct a study to increase immigrant inclusion

Lyndon B. Johnson School (LBJ) of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin school professor and leading domestic policy expert Ruth Wasem, alongside 16 graduate public policy students, worked with the City of Dallas, where a quarter of its residents are immigrants, to assess how it compares to other major US cities on immigrant inclusion and offer policy tools to foster the incorporation of immigrants in Dallas.

“Immigrant inclusion plays a significant role in creating a resilient city,” said Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax. “Nearly one-quarter of Dallas’ current residents were born outside of the United States. This rapid demographic change is critical to our city’s economic, social and cultural fabric. I commend Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs (WCIA) and the LBJ School for their vigorous work to ensure that we create a more inclusive community for all residents and I look forward to reviewing and implementing these recommendations outlined in the report.”

Researchers found that  Dallas is successful in some elements of immigrant incorporation, but the City falls short on others. Dallas achieved its highest score in government leadership but scored at the bottom for livability, which captures homeownership rates, rent burden, overcrowded dwellings and more. Relative to its peers, Dallas also scored low on job opportunities, which captures labor force participation rate, employment rate, and more.

Researchers recommend the city:

  • Continue to exercise government leadership on immigrant incorporation.
  • Promote policies fostering economic development and civic engagement among immigrants.
  • Support programs enhancing the educational outcomes, neighborhood livability, and access to legal, health and human services in immigrant communities.

“The City of Dallas is among several in the country embracing the concept of immigrant incorporation in hopes of creating a Dallas that is more inclusive, vibrant, and thriving,” said Ruth Wasem, a domestic policy expert and professor of policy practice at the LBJ School at The University of Texas at Austin.  “Notably, our policy recommendations would uplift both foreign-born and native-born residents of Dallas through promoting city services and programs, increasing access to affordable housing and fostering wage growth.”

Over a nine-month period, researchers approached immigrant incorporation from three distinct analytic tiers. The first assesses how Dallas compares to other major US cities on immigrant inclusion. This tier explores methods of measuring immigrant inclusion and techniques for comparing cities on these standardized indices to produce Dallas’ peer cities. The second tier analyzes census tract data for the City of Dallas to discern the residential patterns of immigrants and the demographic and socioeconomic features of these neighborhoods. The third tier queries the immigrants themselves to gather insights on the extent that they feel included within the broader Dallas community.

“I want to express gratitude to the LBJ School and its graduate students who undertook a nine-month study of the City’s immigrant inclusion efforts,” said City of Dallas Chief of Equity and Inclusion Liz-Cedillo-Pereira. “Nearly three and a half years ago, Dallas prioritized immigrant integration as part of a strategic focus for growth, resilience, and social cohesion. While we are making strides,  there are still more improvements to be made and this formidable report underscores the need for advancing economic opportunity, housing affordability, and labor force training for immigrants to harness the full potential of all Dallas residents.”

To view the official pre-publication copy of Welcoming Communities: Immigrant Incorporation in Dallas, click here

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