A few short weeks ago, I, along with my colleague Laura Patching from the Office of Citizenship within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Robin Jones from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, had the pleasure of hosting a roundtable discussion in Atlanta that brought together community and faith-based organizations, advocacy groups, and local and regional government officials.
The purpose of this roundtable was to hear and learn from community leaders to identify best practices and introduce new ideas about what the federal government can do to help refugee and immigrant populations and the communities where they settle and thrive. The event was a part of the New Americans Citizenship and Integration Initiative roundtable series.
Our roundtable participants discussed the growing educational needs of new Americans in their new communities, and in turn, the need for increased educational programming. They stressed that integration is an on-going process that extends beyond an individual immigrant or refugee’s naturalization. We rearticulated the President’s commitment to helping new Americans thrive and develop the skills they need to contribute more fully to their communities and build a dynamic, vibrant future.
We are deeply appreciative of all the representatives who joined in our meeting for the discussion and to our host organization, the Center for Pan Asian Community Services. These types of discussions are occurring across America through the White House New Americans – Citizenship and Integration Initiative. It is our hope that learning what really works on the local level can better inform our policy and programmatic decisions on the federal level.
We believe that community leaders around the country are doing great work to integrate new immigrants into their communities and we want to know about it.
Eskinder Negash currently serves as the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.