Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dear Immigrants: You’re (officially) Welcome in Wilder, Idaho

All small towns should probably make this announcement, it will save their economy. Even in Republican states, like Idaho.  - - Donna Poisl

by Jason Margolis

You may not have been aware, but it’s “Welcoming Week” here in the US–events are being held in 22 states bringing together immigrants and people born in this country. The White House also honored 10 community leaders from across the nation Thursday who work to integrate immigrants into their cities and towns. The week’s festivities are part of an on-going effort to make immigrants feel, well, more welcome.

It’s a concept that’s embraced in tiny Wilder, Idaho – a farming community in southwest Idaho, population 1,533.

Mayor John Bechtel arrived in Wilder in 1958. We sat outside City Hall with a view of the town’s two restaurants.

“We have Rosa’s across the street here, and we have Alenjandra’s just down the street here. Both good little restaurants,” said Bechtel, admiring his town, which also has a relatively new elementary and high school.
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