Welcoming Attitude Toward Immigrants Seen Critical in Attracting Amazon HQ

There is a common thread that runs through all 20 cities vying for Amazon's second headquarters, and it could be great news for leaders in the two Texas cities that are finalists, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Whether it was intentional or not, the progressive tech company has chosen to focus on cities where immigrants play a large role in the economy.

"Companies are going to go where their workforces feel welcome," Ali Noorani with the National Immigration Forum tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.  "And if their workforces have a large number of immigrants, those cities have got to welcome immigrants."

Both Austin and Dallas are finalists for HQ2, and Texas's capitol is widely seen as both progressive and welcoming of migrants, so much so that Austin leaders have been targeted by anti-sanctuary city groups.  

Dallas is a hub for migrants.  Groups like DFW International have long been involved in helping refugees start a new life in the United States.

Noorani points out that Boston, which is another finalist, is home to more than 823,000 immigrants, who make up 18-percent of the population, and who contributed more than $8.3 billion in taxes.  

New York is another front runner, and he says immigrants are the city's story.  Nearly half of the business owners in New York City are migrants.

Even smaller cities that are finalists, like Nashville, have large immigrant populations.  There, they pay nearly one billion in taxes a year.

"When you look at cities across the country that are thriving, they have large immigrant populations," he explains.

Nationally, 43-percent of companies in the Fortune 500 were founded by immigrants, he points out.

Amazon's list, he says, should be a wakeup call for cities that are hostile to immigrants and didn’t make the cut, like Phoenix.

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