FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2013
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER FATIMA SHAMA RELEASE BLUEPRINTS TO SUPPORT MUNICIPAL IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION AT CITIES FOR IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION CONFERENCE
Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Hosts Conference with Representatives of Twenty-Three U.S. Mayor’s Offices to Support Replication of Immigrant Integration Polices and Initiatives Based on Successful New York City Models
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Fatima Shama today released Blueprints for Immigrant Integration to support cities around the country to enhance their local immigrant integration efforts. The Blueprints for Immigrant Integration highlight successful practices in immigrant integration across a variety of program and policy areas—including language access, police and community engagement, economic development and entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and citizenship—and serve as detailed guides to support the replication of New York City models to support their immigrant communities. The blueprints were released at the Cities for Immigrant Integration conference held today at Gracie Mansion which brought together representatives from twenty-three cities across the country, as well as senior-level New York City government officials, national policy experts and philanthropic leaders to share best practices and form a network of municipal governments working together to promote immigrant integration through innovative policies and programming. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Shama were joined by Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, GA; Mayor Tim Willson of Brooklyn Center, MN; Mayor Tom Henry of Fort Wayne, IN; Mayor A C Wharton Jr. of Memphis, TN; Mayor R. T. Rybak of Minneapolis, MN; Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville, TN; Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix, AZ; Mayor Angel Taveras of Providence, RI; and Mayor Edna Jackson of Savannah, GA; as well as senior officials from Boston, MA; San Francisco, CA; Houston, TX; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Seattle, WA; Denver, CO; New Orleans, LA; Baltimore, MD; Columbus, OH; Portland, OR; Austin, TX; Washington, DC and Salt Lake City, UT.
“Our nation was built by immigrants and it continues to be a beacon of hope for people around the globe who are looking to build a better life,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As we continue to make the case for federal immigration reform, cities can’t wait for Washington to take action. That’s why it’s crucial that cities come together to share ideas and help each other assess needs, find ways to address them and provide concrete examples of policies that have been successful. New York City has long been a leader in helping immigrants integrate into the fabric of our nation by helping them overcome the barriers that keep them from achieving their dreams and contribute to a better future for all Americans.”
“Our City is steadfast in our commitment to serving immigrant New Yorkers and we are thrilled to have so many colleagues around the country interested in taking up this call to action,” said Commissioner Shama. “This convening is just the beginning of our effort to support and engage other cities in the working of facilitating immigrant integration.”
“Through the Partnership for a New American Economy, we have worked with more than 500 mayors and business leaders across the country to make the economic case for smart and necessary reforms to our nation’s outdated immigration laws,” said John Feinblatt, Mayor Bloomberg’s Chief Policy Advisor. “Convening Cities for Immigrant Integration provides an excellent opportunity for us to continue this crucial work and strengthen those partnerships by sharing smart policies and resources.”
The Cities for Immigrant Integration (CII) conference was coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), which recommends policies and programs that facilitate the economic, civic and cultural integration of immigrants. Mayors and senior city officials invited to attend will participate in panel discussions about the six Blueprints released today on the following topics: Creating Plans and Policies for Integration; Ensuring Access to Services; Immigrants and the Economy; Police-Community Engagement; and Civic Engagement and Citizenship. These six blueprints can be found online at www.nyc.gov. In the coming months, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will release five more Blueprints covering Education; Public Health and Health Care; Libraries; Financial Empowerment; and Domestic Violence Prevention. The second day of the convening will include a tour of government and community-based institutions in Queens—including Newcomers High School, Elmhurst Hospital Center, the 82nd Street Partnership and the Queens Library at Flushing—to showcase successful integration efforts in action.
The Convening of Cities for Immigrant Integration represents the culmination of several years of formal engagement between the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and various municipalities across the country on issues related to immigrant integration. In 2011, MOIA provided guidance and technical assistance to support the development of the Office for New Americans under Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the City of Chicago. Since that time, MOIA has provided technical assistance on immigration-related issues to Mayor’s Offices and senior officials in Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Seattle, as well as government offices in Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, and Germany.
The City of New York has maintained an Office of Immigrant Affairs since 1984, when Mayor Edward I. Koch established the office in the Department of City Planning. In 2001, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs became, through voter referendum, the first chartered office in the country dedicated to protecting the rights of immigrants to access City services and recommending policies and programs to facilitate their successful integration. Over the course of the Bloomberg Administration, the City of New York has established itself as a leading city in municipal immigrant integration policy. In 2003, Mayor Bloomberg issued Executive Orders 34 and 41, also known as the City’s “Confidentiality Policy,” that ensures access to City services for all New Yorkers. The Executive Orders mandate city workers to protect as confidential broad categories of information belonging to people seeking City services, including a person’s immigration status. In July 2008, Mayor Bloomberg signed the Citywide Language Access Policy, Executive Order 120, requiring every City agency that provides direct services to take reasonable steps to ensure access to services for limited-English proficient New Yorkers by providing interpretation and translation services in at least the top six languages spoken in the City. In 2011, Mayor Bloomberg announced One NYC One Nation, a citywide immigrant civic engagement initiative designed to enhance immigrant New Yorkers access to vital information and services and build the capacity of immigrant communities to take an active role in the City’s civic life.
Support for the Cities of Immigrant Integration Conference and Blueprints were provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Citi Community Development and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. The Bermuda Motor Car Renting Co., Inc. is providing transportation to this week’s events.
Marc LaVorgna/ Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958
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