Welcoming Cities & Counties
Our member municipality program offers learning exchanges on national and international levels. Through your membership, you'll have access to government leaders across the nation who are creating immigrant-friendly, welcoming communities. We invite you share ideas and goals and help us make our country a more prosperous and welcoming place.
What is a Welcoming City or County?
A Welcoming City or County is one that joins Welcoming America and that:
- Plans: All relevant sectors, such as government, business, non-profit, and others, work together to create a welcoming community climate that supports long-term integration.
- Commits: Municipalities commit to institutionalize strategies ensuring the ongoing inclusion and long-term economic and social integration of newcomers.
- Builds Community: Newcomers and long-time residents find common ground and shared leadership.
- Communicates: Messages of unity and shared values permeate the community through the media, through the voices of leaders, and among residents.
- Sustains: Policies and practices are considered to ensure interactions between new and long-time residents remain positive ones and the community’s economic vitality remains strong.
Who Supports Welcoming Communities?
Our growing network benefits from broad community support from a range of mainstream partners. Represented among the organizations that are collaborating with Welcoming Cities and Counties at the local level are faith, civic and corporate partners, as well as broad bi-partisan support. These include:
- Numerous corporate partners and economic development agencies, as well as local financial institutions, Main Street entrepreneurs, and larger employers.
- Civic partners, ranging from local YMCAs to universities and educational partners.
- Public sector partners, including not only mayors, county executives, governors, and other local and state elected officials, but police chiefs, school board members, and many others, across the political spectrum.
- Local philanthropic partners, from the United Way to community foundations.
- Partners across multiple faiths.
Together, this broad range of welcoming communities and ambassadors are building prosperous futures and stronger communities. We see this reflected in simple things, like more parents participating in PTAs and more entrepreneurs opening businesses on Main Street.
- Hear from government leaders who are making the most of diversity, by creating “immigrant-friendly” welcoming plans
- Learn how large and small communities respond to demographic change and support long-term immigrant integration in a way that speaks to and benefits all members of the community
- Access new tools and resources to advance welcoming resolutions, initiatives, and strategies
- Receive support and recognition
- Participate in national and transatlantic learning exchanges that highlight promising practices from globally competitive cities
All new Welcoming Cities and Counties cohort members must sign and return a commitment form.
Welcoming Proclamations and Resolutions
Whether a community wishes to issue a proclamation or resolution as a symbolic act or more formally, to become a recognized Welcoming City or County and Member, we ask that you please reach out to Welcoming America before doing so, so that we can best coordinate with you around proactive communications, as well as to avoid potential pitfalls that can come with public declarations. Read more guidance and see examples.
What is the difference between Welcoming Cities and "Sanctuary cities"?
A Welcoming City or County is one that joins the Welcoming America network and works across multiple sectors, such as government, business, and non-profit, to create inclusive policies and practices such as making it easier for entrepreneurs to start a business or having government documents available in multiple languages. Welcoming Cities are guided by the principles of inclusion and creating communities that prosper because everyone feels welcome, including immigrants and refugees.
There is no legal definition for a "Sanctuary city". Nevertheless, a commonality among cities that have adopted sanctuary-type policies is a desire to resist changes in the law that would require local criminal law enforcement agencies to do the federal government’s job of enforcing immigration laws. Many do this by preventing local officials from asking people about their immigration status. Other cities refuse to use local resources to detain immigrants. The main purpose for these types of policies is to comply with constitutional requirements and to protect public safety by maintaining positive relationships between local law enforcement and immigrant communities.
Contact Isha Lee to learn more or to join.