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Building Welcoming Communities for All

Felicia Escobar talks about a recent meeting with the Office of Public Engagement and Welcoming America.

Achieving full economic recovery and maintaining America’s competitive edge globally now and into the future will require communities to fully embrace their strongest resource –their people.   This is why communities around the country are taking a new approach to integrating newly arrived immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers into their community and creating more welcoming environments for all community members.

Through the New Americans Citizenship and Integration Initiative, officials from throughout the Administration have met with hundreds of leaders in communities across the nation to learn about successful models for integrating immigrants civically, economically, and linguistically.  Recently, White House staff from the Domestic Policy Council and Office of Public Engagement sat down to learn more about Welcoming America, a national organization working to create a welcoming atmosphere – community by community –which helps immigrants integrate into the social fabric of their adopted hometowns.  Welcoming America is a part of the “receiving communities movement,” which focuses on building 21st century communities that attract and retain global investment. 

With affiliates in 19 states, local Welcoming America efforts engage in positive, proactive initiatives that bring all community members together.  By connecting immigrants and U.S. born residents, and by highlighting local contributions made by immigrants, Welcoming America is transforming relationships in these communities and working with others, including  community leaders, practitioners, and academics to support strategies that engage all Americans in understanding and promoting more integrated communities. 

Welcoming America and other private organizations have developed a host of resources for those interested in using the “receiving communities” approach in their communities:

We are inspired by all the groups involved in growing this movement to help unite people from all backgrounds in America’s cities and towns.  We believe this approach holds great promise and look forward to continuing to support efforts that promote globally competitive communities across the nation that are welcoming places for all people to live and work. 

Felicia Escobar is the Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Domestic Policy Council.