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Can you guess the top 10 cities for immigrants in the US?

Migration is one of the most politically polarizing issues in the US right now, that much is clear. But which cities are the most - and least - welcoming?

The answer may surprise you.

Would you have guessed that Miami is the worst metropolis for migrants in the US?

According to a new index ranking the top 50 most populous cities in the US, Miami – which has one of the highest proportions of foreign-born residents of any major city in the world – is actually way behind its peers when it comes to what it offers those residents.

“Despite the fact that almost 60 percent of its population is made up of immigrants, Miami came in at dead last at #50,” the report states.

The index was a collaborative effort between the New York Immigration Coalition and international tech company TransferWise, who teamed up to analyze which cities in the US are the most open for immigrants.

The rankings were determined by nine factors. On the more political spectrum, a city received points if it is considered a “sanctuary city”; if there are “detainer policies in place” which complicate or limit ICE compliance; if it has an office for immigrant affairs; and if immigrants have access to a municipal ID program.

Other factors in the ranking were more related to equality in general, giving everyone – immigrant or no – the basics needed to maintain a decent quality of life. These include rankings based on minimum wage, cost of living, the cost of public transit, and availability of pre-school.

Different factors carried different weights as well, with government policies playing the largest role.

Unfortunately, that’s also where Miami failed hardcore.

During Obama’s presidency Miami was considered a sanctuary city, but in August it lost – or gave up – that status.

In April this year the Trump Administration sent a letter reminding Miami to work with immigration authorities or else face losing federal grants. In August  the city was suddenly announced “compliant” – leading local immigrant advocates to accuse Mayor Carlos Gimenez of betraying the county’s tradition of welcoming immigrants.

Miami could learn a thing or two from San Francisco, which ranked as the number one US city for immigrants.

It’s hardly surprising that San Fran is an immigrant haven, with nicknames like Baghdad by the Bay and Paris of the West.

But there’s a lot more to it than international terms of endearment: San Francisco is a sanctuary city, has an Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs, and has a municipal ID program, making it easier for immigrants to do things like vote.

The city’s only big drawback is the relatively high cost of living – but the mayor is working hard to fix that.

Chicago took second place and New York was ranked third-best city for immigrants in the US. San Jose and Washington D.C. also ranked high up on the list. On the low end of the scale, Miami was in the company of cities like Indianapolis, Virginia Beach, and Colorado Springs.

Here they are, the top 10 immigrant-friendly cities in the US:

1. San Francisco, CA

2. Chicago, IL

3. New York, NY

4. San Jose, CA

5. Washington D.C. (tied with Baltimore, MD)

6. Baltimore, MD (tied with Washington D.C.)

7. Seattle, WA

8. Boston, MA

9. Los Angeles, CA

10. Milwaukee, WI

Aaaaand the not-so-friendly bottom 10:

40. Tucson, AZ

41. Kansas City, MO

42. Mesa, AZ

43. Phoenix, AZ

44. Arlington, TX (tied with Fort Worth, TX)

45. Fort Worth, TX (tied with Arlington, TX)

46. Las Vegas, NV

47. Colorado Springs, CO (tied with Virginia Beach, VA)

48. Virginia Beach, VA (tied with Colorado Springs, CO)

49. Indianapolis, IN

50. Miami, FL

 

See the full ranking here.