A Welcoming Moment

administrative relief banner

Yesterday, the President announced Administrative Relief, a new program that will protect millions of immigrants from deportation. Regardless of the debate in Washington, where this policy will play out is in our communities. How we respond during this welcoming moment will reflect our commitment to the values that define us as Americans.

Over the next several months, communities across the country will have an important choice to make about how they treat those who are eligible to participate. Those who qualify already have deep roots in our communities. They are members of the local PTA, parishioners in the local church, and coaches of the local soccer team. If communities are welcoming and step up to the plate with their support and resources, we can succeed. We can succeed not only by making sure that no one is too afraid to enroll, but also by ensuring that millions can finally more fully participate and feel a sense of belonging in their communities. After all, when we feel welcome, we are much more likely to share our talents, ideas, and inspirations with those around us. Imagine the positive implications for our communities.
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WA Updates: Children Fleeing Violence, NIIC, Job Opening & More

Mayors and County Executives Come Out In Support of Children Fleeing Violence

In continuation of our campaign to support children fleeing violence from Central America, Welcoming America recently released a letter signed by 13 Mayors and County Executives from some of the nation’s largest communities in which they promise to compassionately support and welcome the children.

Reflecting a symbolic cross section of America, this initial group of local leaders is showing tremendous leadership among a growing number of communities that have been willing and able to ensure that the children are cared for – garnering attention from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Spanish-language Associated Press, and Latin Post. For more information on this momentous step, including the list of signatories, click here Read the rest of this entry »

From the Halls of Government to the Heart of Communities, National Welcoming Week Celebrates and Uplifts Immigrants

Welcoming Week Pictures

* Photo captions below

This National Welcoming Week, communities across the country – rural and urban, large and small – stepped up to celebrate and integrate immigrants. From substantial policy changes to exciting events, Welcoming Week marked a watershed moment for our country.

Mayors and Communities Announce Major Welcoming Policy Initiatives

During Welcoming Week, four Welcoming Cities – Atlanta, Baltimore, Nashville, and Detroit – took huge leaps forward in their path to welcoming immigrants. These steps are not just symbolic gestures embracing newcomers – they are also momentous shifts in governmental and institutional policy that will tangibly improve the lives of immigrants.
In Atlanta, Georgia – which has the second fastest-growing foreign-born population of any metro area in the U.S., second only to Baltimore – Mayor Kasim Reed and the Welcoming Atlanta Working Group announced that the City of Atlanta will implement 20 policies and programs to foster a welcoming environment for all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, or place of origin.
Baltimore, Maryland also celebrated with Mayor Stephanie Rawling-Blake’s announcement that the city will implement new efforts to attract and retain immigrants. To kick these efforts off, the city released a report on the role immigrants play in growing the city, as well as a video series celebrating Welcoming Week.
The birthplace of the Welcoming movement, Nashville, Tennessee, continues to lead the country, announcing last week the creation of a Mayor’s Office of New Americans, a successful example of the power of government-nonprofit collaboration that is at the root of our work. We commend Mayor Karl Dean and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) for this momentous step forward.
Welcoming Week also saw the addition of two new cities to the Welcoming Cities and Counties cohort. Detroit, Michigan made their announcement during a panel featuring the Mayor, City Council, and our partner Welcoming Michigan. We also honor Anchorage, Alaska, which became the first Welcoming City outside of the contiguous U.S. during Welcoming Week.

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US Mayors: “We will provide compassion and care for children fleeing violence”

Today, Welcoming America released a letter signed by Mayors and County Executives from some of the nation’s largest communities in which they promise to compassionately support and welcome the young children from Central America seeking refuge in the US.  Reflecting a symbolic cross section of America, this initial group of Mayors and County Executives are showing tremendous leadership among a growing number of communities that have been willing and able to ensure that children are cared for.

“As leaders of the nation’s cities and counties, we remind the American public that the moral compass of our nation resides in our local communities. We call on our residents and leaders across the country to respond with compassion and concern for the welfare of all children, and to join us in doing all we can to live up to our values as a just and welcoming nation,” the letter states.

Mayors Kasim Reed of Atlanta, Georgia, Martin J. Walsh of Boston, Massachusetts, Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Illinois, Stephen K. Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, Michael B. Hancock of Denver, Colorado, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, California, Michael A. Nutter of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, William Peduto of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Daniel L. Bianchi of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Edward B. Murray of Seattle, Washington, Francis G. Slay of St. Louis, Missouri, Jonathan Rothschild of Tucson, Arizona, and County Executive Isiah Leggett of Montgomery County, Maryland all signed the letter.

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A Historic Day for Atlanta

atlanta ww announcement e-blast header

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced yesterday his commitment to a more inclusive and immigrant-friendly Atlanta, in partnership with business and civic leaders. Among them, the City will:

  • Create an Office of Multicultural Affairs
  • Organize city dialogues with immigrant and refugee communities and receiving communities
  • Create a web-based, multi-language one-stop shop for all entrepreneurs to start a business in the city
  • Expand opportunities for adult English language learning
  • Launch an initiative within the Atlanta Police Department and the City Prosecutor’s office to investigate and prosecute individuals who prey on immigrants
  • Establish a My City Academy educational program

Welcoming America is honored to work with Mayor Reed, his staff, and the community to take this historic step forward. Read on for the full scoop.

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What do 13k Americans and the City of Detroit share?


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Answer: They’re all participating in National Welcoming Week!

While Washington continues to debate immigration, communities small and large, rural and urban, are moving full steam ahead to welcome immigrants and expand prosperity. This local movement has never been more apparent than during 2014 National Welcoming Week, which started on September 13th and includes over 160 events in 27 states designed to honor immigrant contributions and build bridges among diverse local residents.

These events are by and large organized by local nonprofit and government partners within our network, which includes 19 nonprofits and 41 local governments through the Welcoming Cities and Counties initiative. The latest locality to join the initiative is Detroit, Michigan, who announced their participation today.

detroit immigrant task force

The Detroit Immigration Task Force announces the city will join Welcoming Cities and Counties. Read the rest of this entry »

National Welcoming Week kicks off on September 13th!







National Welcoming Week kicks off on September 13th! Join over 13,000 people in 27 states in communities both small and large, rural and urban, to celebrate immigrants and the growing movement of leaders and communities that fully embrace immigrants and their value to the fabric of our country.

Welcoming Week reflects the true story of how communities are thriving by working together to welcome immigrants – regardless of what is happening in Washington. Find an event near you now!

Share the news of how you’re celebrating National Welcoming Week Use the #welcomingweek hashtag as you share pictures and stories from the events you attend. To learn about what other communities are doing, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Donate: Even if you can’t plan or join an event in your community, you can still support us by making a donation to support National Welcoming Week.

Questions? We are here to help!  Contact us at


Welcoming America Honored in Bali with Worldwide Intercultural Innovation Award






We are excited to announce that Welcoming America is one of eleven organizations worldwide to receive the 2014 Intercultural Innovation Award, granted by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and BMW Group!

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New Webinar Series on Welcoming Children

Welcoming America is pleased to announce a series of three webinars on what local communities can do to help children fleeing violence, highlighting how:

  • Various sectors are working together in their communities to respond with compassion and empathy to the children fleeing violence.
  • Local leaders and community partners are acting as the moral compass of the nation, reframing the debate and taking action, such as through National Welcoming Week.
  • Our experience in working with receiving communities, the communities where immigrants and refugees are arriving,  can help you to create a welcoming climate.

Talking about Children Fleeing Violence: What Works, What Doesn’t

Monday, August 18, 12-1pm EST


Welcoming America is Supporting the Growing Number of Communities that are Welcoming Unaccompanied Children

Update: For resources on unaccompanied children – including ways you can help – click here.

Dear Colleagues,

We stand at a historic moment for our country.  Unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America are being re-settled across the U.S., and regardless of what happens in Washington, it is local communities who must act as the moral compass of our nation.

Now, more than ever, it is important to remember what our local partners witness daily:welcoming communities are more prosperous, dynamic, and united than those that aren’t intentionally inclusive. We are deeply inspired by the growing number of leaders and everyday Americans uniting to make their communities welcoming ones for unaccompanied children. For some inspiring examples of communities stepping up, click here.

From changing the tenor of the conversation, to engaging residents with fears and misperceptions about local impact, to offering support to unaccompanied children, there is much that communities can and should do to step up and help.

In the coming weeks, Welcoming America will do our part to support our rapidly growing national network of local organizations and municipal governments, as well as any community wanting to become more welcoming during this important time.

Our goals are two-fold:

1) To lift up the voices of local leaders across the country who are taking a stand to welcome and humanely care for the children

Much of the media coverage has been primarily negative and portrays local communities as overwhelmingly against humane and welcoming treatment of the children. This depiction runs counter to public opinion polling and the experience of our local partners.

Over the coming weeks, we will spotlight the welcoming responses taking place around the country. Although details are still being finalized, actions will include:

  • Supporting and publicizing a welcoming sign-on letter for local leaders to demonstrate the depth and breadth of support for the children.
  • Changing the narrative by lifting up the numerous stories of local communities welcoming unaccompanied children and providing messaging and communications support to communities that are seeking to change the local narrative.
  • Creating space for immigrants and receiving community members to come together in service for the children during National Welcoming Week, taking place September 13-21.
  • Working with national partners like the National Partnership for New Americans to connect those ready to welcome children and to share their stories as widely as possible.  If you or your organization would like to partner in lifting up local voices of welcoming, please contact us.

2) To ensure local governments and community organizations have the tools required to marshal welcoming efforts in their communities.  Over the coming weeks, we will:

  • Launch a webinar series with our partners to provide you with facts and background on unaccompanied children and local communities, as well as messaging and actions you can take to promote welcoming the children.
  • Collect and share strategies and narratives that are working for community leaders and organizations across the country.  Please share with us what you are doing or send us your ideas so we can help others learn from them too.
  • Offering our many years of expertise in engaging receiving communities to groups and local governments wanting to promote greater dialogue and communication among local residents to ensure positive community outcomes.

There is an alternative to the divisive rhetoric we have all been hearing. In communities from Tampa to Denver to Syracuse, local leaders are expressing their support for unaccompanied children and emphasizing that the values of those they represent require children be cared for and welcomed.  These statements, some of which are captured here, are a reminder that everyday Americans can change the course of history.

Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts and ideas and to let us know how we can support you in your efforts to create more welcoming communities for all.

David Lubell
Executive Director
Welcoming America