Immigrants in Baltimore: How Warm the Welcome?

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Center for Africana Studies
Elizabeth Clifford, “Immigrants in Baltimore: How Warm the Welcome?” This paper focuses on the contemporary situation of immigrants in Baltimore. Immigrants in Baltimore face a situation different from those in many other cities in important ways. First, the immigrant population is incredibly diverse in Baltimore, and in Maryland more generally, with no one or two nationalities predominant, whereas in many cities the majority of immigrants are from one of a few origins. Second, in the early years of the 21st century, Baltimore’s growing immigrant population encountered a city in which the city government officially and warmly welcomed them, in an effort to stave off population decline, whereas in many cities local governments are hostile to immigrants. In this paper, I examine current demographics of immigrants in Baltimore, and examine the official response to this immigrant flow. This research draws from secondary analysis of Census data and government sources regarding the official city standpoint on immigration, as well as from fieldwork with an immigrant organization in the city. In addition, the author reflects on her experiences organizing and coordinating the Baltimore Immigration Summit, an annual event that brings together academics, service providers, activists, and others interested in the issue of immigration in Baltimore.
Immigrants, Baltimore, Welcome