Friday, February 12, 2016
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National Immigrant Integration Policy

Towards a National Agenda

Despite immigration being one of the most intensely debated part of our national discourse, the integration of immigrants remains a severely overlooked policy discussion in the federal government. Much energy has been spent in debating our immigration system (enforcement, admittance, legalization, etc.), with nowhere near a complementary effort on immigrant integration.

The process of integration is facilitated primarily by family, ethnic-associations, CBOs, religious institutions and some state and local governments.  The federal government is noticably absent in this endeavor, for better or for worse. The result is integration policy that is often under-funded, inconsistent, and not reflective of the newcomers' desire and urgency to accelerate their contribution to the nation's economy and civic life.

MIRA believes that there should be a national, formal and robust set of integration policies in the largest and most original nation of immigrants.  Working in association with the National Partnership of New Americans (comprised of a dozen state- and locally-based advocacy organizations), MIRA works to shape a more comprehensive coordination and policymaking between federal agencies that already have initiatives and services targeting immigrants and refugees, such as the Department of Labor (migrant labor rights, workers' training), Department of Health & Human Services (refugee resettlement, migrant childhood development), and the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (naturalization).

The federal government, spurred by a strong integration agenda, can play a powerful role in supporting receiving communities welcome, settle, and integrate immigrants - who are ready to strengthen our economy and revitalize our democracy.  It is a sound investment as the United States competes in a globalized economy, and as the nation nurtures the next generation of citizens (a quarter of all children are immigrants).