By Jen Riddle
Immigrant integration takes place in communities all over the country in a variety of ways. Each organization and each community makes decisions to pursue and promote integration in ways they believe will be most successful in their local area. CLINIC has highlighted some diverse integration programming options taking place at our member agencies.
Citizenship test preparation classes are the perfect complement to legal services in helping immigrants become United States citizens. Services for citizenship can range broadly, from basic classes and conversations with mentors, to extensive preparatory mock interviews. The following model programs, tools, and trainings provide resources for immigrant legal services and integration programs aiming to expand their services. The Outside Resources section also includes some links to helpful materials produced by other organizations.
Attaining English language skills is a vital step in the progress of immigrants’ integration efforts. Through English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, immigrants can get higher paying jobs, increase their civic engagement and reach a higher level or financial security,in addition to achieving increased independence in their everyday lives. The following model programs highlight the important work being done by CLINIC affiliates in educating English Language Learners (ELLs). Provided tools and training resources can assist organizations in starting their own ESL classes.
Employed immigrants are required to file taxes, regardless of status or documents used to acquire employment. Many immigrants face barriers to filing income taxes. They may be afraid that the IRS will pass their information on to immigration enforcement. Additionally, the complex tax code is not easy to understand for people who may not speak English or have a knowledge of all available credits and rebates. Service providers working with the foreign-born can offer tax assistance preparation and support as their clients work to fulfill this federal requirement.
Looking for ideas to promote and encourage immigrant integration within your community? The General Integration Resources page is a great place to find information on integration program planning, training and tools on how integration can be promoted locally, and performance measurement strategies. CLINIC offers model programs that spotlight agency-wide immigrant integration initiatives across our network. Additionally, tools and trainings provided can increase the impact of immigrant integration programs at the local level.