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A Welcoming Environment

Posted - Mar. 31, 2004 at 9:28 a.m.



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Today we call attention to a couple of related national studies and what they bode for Utah.

First, new projections from the U.S. Census Bureau have the Hispanic and Asian populations in the United States tripling in the next 50-years. Non-Hispanic whites may drop to half the total national population.

Secondly, the Brookings Institution lists the Salt Lake area as one of the nation’s significant emerging destination communities for immigrants.

In case you haven’t noticed, the face of Utah is changing – dramatically! It is reflected, as one example, in the Salt Lake City School District where nearly half the students now come from ethnic minority backgrounds, mainly the result of a new wave of immigration.

By all accounts, the trend will continue. It means our communities face ongoing social, cultural and political changes. There’ll be a need for jobs and housing along with unique demands on education and health care systems.

In KSL’s view, it would be folly to pretend the transformation is not occurring, or to wish with prejudicial zeal that it could be stopped. Rather, we encourage policymakers and community leaders to acknowledge the reality of what’s happening and do all they can to “shape a welcoming environment that helps immigrants succeed in their new homes.”*

*The Rise of New Immigrant Gateways, Audrey Singer, The Brookings Institute, p.17

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