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Community Partners Inform Priorities for Immigrant Integration

By Anthony Bowman

It is a well-known fact that the Asian American community is the fastest growing immigrant community in the U.S., increasing by 46% nationwide between 2000 and 2010. Much of this growth is happening outside of traditional immigrant gateways, with increasingly larger communities emerging in the Midwest, South, and Southwest, regions that have traditionally struggled with the integration of racially and linguistically diverse communities. This week Advancing Justice released a western regional report, part of the A Community of Contrasts demographic report series. The report highlights the extraordinary growth of Asian American and NHPI communities in the region, with the population growing as much as 95% and 116% in Arizona and Las Vegas respectively.

Advancing Justice | AAJC believes that a healthy democracy requires that all members of society are able to participate in decisions that impact their families and communities. We work to strengthen the roots of Asian American communities by promoting federal policies and practices that promote family unification, integration, and naturalization. As we experience demographic shifts in the coming years that challenge the historical status of a white majority, this work will become even more critical.

To this end, Advancing Justice | AAJC met with nine of our community partners this past week to further shape the scope of our work in immigrant integration. We gathered in Washington, D.C. and met with nationally recognized leaders working in the integration arena to discuss best practices, technical assistance needs and advocacy priorities for immigrant integration.

The convening also included a meeting with the White House Domestic Policy Council, in which partners shared their work in immigrant integration, discussed unmet challenges and had an opportunity to influence the administration’s priorities. Partners identified several priorities, including increasing leadership development opportunities for grassroots leaders, and creating a national agenda for language access informed by best practices and victories on the local and state level.

We will meet again in December during the National Immigrant Integration Conference, an annual convening of policy experts, business leaders, community leaders, academics and representatives from the philanthropic section who meet to shape immigrant inclusion and integration in America in the years to come. Our community partners will contribute to the conversation with their insights about what works in Asian American communities. Together we will further process what we have learned and decide on priorities for 2016 and beyond.

Thank you to all our partners who joined us this past week: Asian American Federation (NY), Asian American Federation of Florida, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Asian Pacific Community in Action (AZ), Asian Pacific Development Center (CO), Center for Pan Asian Community Services (GA), Chinese Community Center (TX), Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (IA), and VN Teamwork (TX). We know that national, state and local groups working together make the best and strongest partnerships.

A special thank you to State Farm and Southwest Airlines for sponsoring this event.

Fighting for civil rights for all and working to empower #AAPIs to participate in our democracy. Follow: @johncyangdc @tao_minnis @meganessaheb

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