Integrating New Immigrants into our Communities: Smarter Policy, Smarter Politics

02/06/2009 - 2:00pm

On Friday, February 6, 2009 at 2:00pm EST Progressive States Network hosted a national conference call to share strategies for integrating immigrants into our communities and how states can implement them, with an eye on limiting the budget impact, welcoming immigrants, and driving local economic engines.

The general failure of anti-immigration politics at the polls in recent years has led many state leaders to switch their focus from anti-immigration initiatives to addressing the real challenge of integrating new immigrants into our communities and economy - a strategy change that is especially critical now when we all need to work together to revive our states. All along, many state leaders have been quietly pursuing smart, integrative policies that promote stronger local communities, protect public safety and save money for the taxpayers.

On this confernece call, we discussed the proactive and integrative immigration policies that state leaders can enact that can integrate new immigrants into our communities, while addressing voter concerns by improving public safety and highlighting the tax and fiscal contributions of those new immigrants.

Panelists on the call were:

  • Minnesota Senator Patricia Torres Ray, Majority Whip and Vice Chair, Health, Housing and Family Security Committee
  • Jon Blazer, Public Benefits Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center (NILC)
  • Luvia Quiñones, New Americans Initiative Program Assistant Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
  • Caroline Fan, Immigration and Workers' Rights Policy Specialist, Progressive States Network