The City of Fayetteville Hopes to Attract More Immigrants with New Plan

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Fayetteville has the lowest foreign-born population in Northwest Arkansas, but the city hopes to improve those numbers.

Tuesday night, the Fayetteville City Council approved Welcoming Fayetteville Plan with hopes of breaking down barriers and making life easier for those who are new to the city and country.

“There are real barriers around minorities living and calling Fayetteville home,” said Mireya Reith, founding director of Arkansas Community Coalition.

The effort hopes to attract and help more immigrants in town.

“It is such an important step for our city, as well as for our entire state,” said Augusta Branham, Communications Project Manager, Fayetteville.

The plan has 25 recommendations, including adding more bilingual city forms and implementing fair housing prices.

“Diversity, and inclusion and equable access are values that are always held really at the heart,” said Branham.

“Immigrants start new businesses that create jobs. They’re more likely than native born individuals to be entrepreneurs,” explained Branham.

The plan hopes to make access to public transportation a lot easier by adding more bus routes and showing them on apps like Google Maps which currently only shows one.

Reith shared her ideas with the city.

“This gives us a starting point, and common place of agreement, but also a point where we can evaluate and monitor progress,” said Reith.

A part of the plan that sticks out to Reith is that citizenship isn’t required to be involved in city government.

“We’re really proud that Fayetteville looks to be the first city in the state to open up it’s process so there can be more diversity contributing to city government,” said Reith.

Reith said, while this plan is a good step, it all boils down to implementation. 

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