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City of Cleveland creating new position to help immigrants and refugees

Natalia Garcia
Ideastream Public Media
The rotunda of Cleveland City Hall.

The City of Cleveland has created and is hiring for a new position called senior coordinator for new Clevelanders to address the needs and challenges faced by immigrants and refugees.

The senior coordinator will be responsible for building relationships with multicultural and immigration-focused organizations and immigrant and minority communities in Cleveland.

“Immigrants, refugees, newcomers are a key part of Cleveland’s story. This was a city built by immigrants and the city will continue to be growing because of immigration,” said Austin Davis, the city’s senior policy advisor.

Davis said the new hire will help implement strategies and programs to make city hall more accessible to immigrants, refugees and other newcomers.

“We can always learn more about the folks that we’re serving and we want to make sure we’re providing the best services possible. Beyond that, we’ve got to think about how city hall itself can function better for immigrants,” Davis said.

Davis said this new position aligns with city’s goal to attract and retain these newcomers. He said the region’s availability of trades jobs and the city’s housing stock are potential attractions for newcomers.

“Community and housing are often the top reasons why a given refugee might move to a second city, and here you can really live that kind of life that you want with your family, with folks that really understand your experiences,” Davis said.

Davis said the city recognizes that Cleveland could potentially see an influx of immigrants from Mexico, South America and Central America after the Biden administration lifted Title 42, which was implemented by the Trump administration to limit border access at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re facing an influx now, and there’s resources that are being organized to address it. There’s flux after flux here. It keeps happening and we’re smart enough to notice there’s a pattern. So we really want to put somebody on this issue,” Davis said.

Along with the city’s budget, local non-profit organization the Refugee Response provided a grant to help fund this position.

The city said the application for the position will be open until June 30, which was extended from the original June 23 deadline.

Gabriel Kramer is a reporter/producer and the host of “NewsDepth,” Ideastream Public Media's news show for kids.