Local government and their role in promoting integration
Over the years, the Center for Immigrant Integration has highlighted over 70 different best practices to promote immigrant integration. While each initiative focused on different needs specific to their communities, what they all share in common is the unity that blossomed among residents through these efforts.
CLINIC believes that immigrant integration is most successful at the local level. Meaningful and active partnerships are essential for encouraging integration locally, especially collaboration with elected officials. Local leaders have the ability to enact policies that promote inclusivity. Having a city office that is committed to immigrant integration is another opportunity to ensure that all residents feel welcome, included and safe within their new community, setting the stage for more expansive integration efforts.
Immigrant integration is not a linear process. Therefore, initiatives can range from simple to complex, as well as introduce various possibilities for local officials to engage. CLINIC has previously highlighted three affiliates who joined forces with local officials to promote integration in their communities.
- Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pueblo united with the Latino Chamber of Commerce and other city officials to address fears in the immigrant community, where many felt uncomfortable reporting crimes to the police department.
- The Immigration & Citizenship Organization, or IACO of Passaic New Jersey, holds an annual immigrant integration day. This event brings together newcomers and long-standing residents together for the opportunity to engage with elected leaders, consular delegates and educators.
- The Jersey City Division of Immigrant Affairs is the first city in the nation to receive DOJ Recognition and Accreditation. The division is housed within the city’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Through the work of CLINIC affiliates, the Center for Immigrant integration is committed to exploring the ways local officials are currently implementing integration efforts, in hopes to inspire and encourage other localities to get involved in the integration journey. Whether participating in community events, hosting workshops, or creating an office within local government, elected officials in all jurisdictions have the chance to promote inclusivity and integration in their communities.
Stay tuned! As we highlight several different offices over the next several months. In the meantime, share with us your communities’ integration efforts for the opportunity to be featured in CLINIC’s monthly newsletter!