Immigrants enhance Columbus' economy and education.

Why do we love Columbus? To sum it up in three words, Columbus is smart, open and global. Our region welcomes language, people and culture from all over the world. This community and collaboration translates to the success of our society and makes up the global fabric of Columbus. 

President Trump’s revised executive order, "Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States," from March 6, 2017 has stayed prevalent in headlines due to its impact on individuals worldwide—including the Columbus region. Americans from coast to coast have protested and challenged the controversial travel ban, supporting refugees from the six Muslim-majority countries—Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. 

It’s important to recognize the strides individuals born outside this country have made in our community. Everyday they contribute to the city’s rich diversity and foster cross-cultural understanding and awareness. Columbus’ global population positively impacts our economy, people and education. Below are some key examples:

458 foreign-owned companies in Columbus employ nearly 60,000 residents The local refugee community supports an estimated 21,273 jobs in the Columbus MSA 21 percent of growth in the metro area came from international migration International college students contribute almost $1/4 billion per year to the local economy 41.8 percent of refugees age 18 and older are currently enrolled in college or have graduated from college

(Data source: Columbus Council of World Affairs 2016-2017 Global Report and Impact of Refugees in Central Ohio 2015 Report) 

Since the CCWA works with over 600 students in fifteen school districts in central Ohio through the Global Scholars Diploma program, it experiences first-hand the commitment young immigrants and refugees have in achieving and thriving in our community. From launching mentoring programs to spreading global awareness, they contribute in ways that help make all students globally-minded and future leaders.

It’s undeniable that local refugees and immigrants enhance the development of Columbus. They are assets in our community and deserve to be treated like valuable contributors to this country. Through cultural understanding and a willingness to engage those who may seem different, Columbus can continue to be enriched by the intersections of local and global cultures these individuals represent. As a city improved by their presence, it’s our responsibility to support those who are committed to inclusion and acceptance in the greater Columbus region. Only then can we truly be smart, open and global.

Patrick Terrien is the President and CEO of the Columbus Council on World Affairs. The CCWA strives to foster global awareness and build bridges between people, cultures and communities. For more information about the CCWA, please visit: https://columbusworldaffairs.org.