Monday, November 1, 2010

Fort Wayne Lauded for Immigrant Integration

Recognizing that local governments play a central role in developing and implementing immigrant integration programs, a new report from the National League of Cities (NLC) showcases 20 city programs for promoting social cohesion within the community.

The report, Municipal Innovations in Immigrant Integration: 20 Cities, 20 Good Practices, is produced by NLC’s Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration (MAII) program and focuses on public safety, immigrant outreach, civic engagement and city services.

The 20 city programs featured in the report are:

· Fort Wayne Indiana (Hispanic Immigrant Liaison)
· Austin, Texas (Immigrant Outreach Program)
· Seattle, Washington (Latino Advisory Council)
· El Paso, Texas (Victim Services-Immigration)
· Durham, North Carolina (Mayor’s Hispanic Latino Initiative)
· Louisville, Kentucky (Office of International Affairs)
· Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs)
· Columbus, Ohio (New American Initiative)
· Chattanooga, Tennessee (HANDS Across Chattanooga)
· Skokie, Illinois (Immigrant Services)
· Los Angeles, California (Immigrant Integration Partnership)
· Boulder, Colo. (Immigrant Advisory Committee)
· Santa Clara Co./San Jose, Calif. (Immigrant Relations and Integration Services)
· Littleton, Colorado (Littleton Immigrant Integration Initiative)
· San Francisco, California (Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs)
· New York City, New York (Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs)
· Washington, District of Columbia (Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs)
· Princeton, New Jersey (The Princeton Community ID Card)
· Richmond, Virginia (Hispanic Liaison Office)
· Houston, Texas (Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs)

“Immigrants strengthen our communities by bringing cultural and educational resources which help create economic opportunities. Local governments must provide necessary services to ensure a smooth transition for both the immigrants and the communities,” said Ricardo Gambetta (pictured), NLC’s manager for immigrant integration (and former Indianapolis resident). “Through this report, we hope that the 20 programs highlighted can be used as models for other successful integration programs.”

In addition to outlining these programs, the report also makes a number of suggestions for local, state and federal officials in how to better integrate the immigrant community. Examples of these suggestions include developing a nationwide strategy for immigrant integration; cooperating with municipal agencies; addressing local demographics, issues and challenges; establishing mayoral advisory boards and immigrant affairs offices; and recognizing immigrant contributions to the economy.

Compiled after several months of research, on-site visits, policy discussions and consultations with city officials, the programs featured in this report exemplify successful public-private partnerships, advisory initiatives and action-oriented programs to help immigrants successfully acclimate to their new homes.

As part of NLC’s Center for Research and Innovation, MAII promotes civic engagement and naturalization among immigrant communities. MAII is a resource for NLC members, fostering a knowledge-sharing network to help cities learn from the experiences of their counterparts across the country. The MAII project is supported by the Knight Foundation.

For more information on the Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration program, go online.

The National League of Cities is the nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.


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