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Immigrant Integration

The United States is a country of immigrants built on a strong history of successful interaction and integration of newly-arrived immigrants with receiving communities.

At its best, the integration process is dynamic and inherently two-way; however, dialogue on how to best foster integration has been woefully absent in recent immigration reform and national policy debates.  A lack of national leadership on this very important issue has led to increasing fear and hostility towards the immigrant community.

Successful immigrant integration practices can be measured through the implementation of good practices within a number of avenues including: (1) civic engagement and participation, (2) education, (3) language, (4) socio-economic considerations, (5) social integration, and (6) local municipal support.

With or without leadership on the federal level, the process of immigrant integration is currently happening—in some places more successfully and sustainably than others.  Illinois has taken steps to support integration, reestablishing its New American Executive Order in 2010 to support the Office of New Americans Policy and Advocacy.  The office works across the state to assist immigrants in accessing services and to provide research on immigration policy and its impact in Illinois. However, as 11-12 million undocumented individuals continue to live in the shadows, true integration remains a challenge.

Resources related to Immigrant Integration are available below. For additional information, contact Julián Lazalde.

Photo: Olga Lopez

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