White House reports on work of its New Americans task force

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A little more than a year after President Barack Obama established the White House Task Force for New Americans, a progress report has detailed steps taken so far. The task force’s goal is, in part, to encourage the deliberate development of communities that are welcoming to newcomers.

The Dec. 15 report outlines a range of activities launched by various federal offices, from the Small Business Administration through the White House itself.

Working from its long history of working with and for immigrants at all stages of their settlement into life in the United States, CLINIC contributed feedback and suggestions for the report. Some of CLINIC’s recommendations were included in a detailed report released in April. It included 16 goals and 48 recommended actions for the federal government to improve immigrant integration.

The newest progress report’s highlights include these efforts:

    • The task force spearheaded the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign to encourage local immigrant and refugee integration efforts, and organized a White House Building Welcoming Communities convening for dozens of participating cities and counties;
    • It launched two initiatives: the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness campaign with a video message, in partnership with local communities, as well as a complementary campaign at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to promote awareness of the rights, responsibilities and importance of U.S. citizenship;
    • The federal government committed 150 AmeriCorps members under the Welcoming Communities campaign to nearly 100 communities through partnerships with the YMCA, Catholic Charities, and eight refugee resettlement organizations to assist with integration efforts;
    • It launched the Small Business Administration’s “Made It In America” website to promote immigrant entrepreneurship and began a pilot program of classes for immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs;
    • It sponsored webinars and regional convenings and shared best practices for linguistic integration; connecting new Americans with education systems.
    • It assisted five communities in building networks among adult education providers.

CLINIC applauds the efforts by the federal government to encourage efforts to promote integration.

Any immigration programs interested in helping shape their own community’s work in integration can use CLINIC’s Center for Immigrant Integration new Immigrant Integration Surveys. These tools can be used to measure clients’ desire and ability to use community resources and to measure how ready an agency is to promote and develop immigrant integration programming.

Over time, they can help an agency get a sense of how efforts to promote integration are affecting clients and staff.

For more information on immigrant integration, including profiles of several innovative programs from around the country, please see our Center for Immigrant Integration webpage.

If you have questions or would like your own program to be profiled, please contact Leya Speasmaker, CLINIC’s Immigrant Integration Program Manager, at lspeasmaker@cliniclegal.org.

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Leya Speasmaker is Integration Program Manager CLINIC’s Center for Citizenship and Immigrant Communities

Source: Catholic Charities