We believe that our success as a nation is rooted in our ongoing commitment to welcoming and integrating newcomers into our society.
The American Dream is part of our nation’s narrative— it’s the story we’ve told ourselves that explains why we’re here and what we’re trying to achieve. But for too many new Americans, the American Dream is not their reality. Reaching back to America’s earliest days, the American Dream has been denied to those whose work made it possible. Indigenous people, slaves, and their descendants have been especially disenfranchised. New Americans, too, are often shut out from the Dream. At NPNA, we believe in upholding equality, opportunity, and justice as fundamental American values. We must effectively organize our constituencies to shape an integration agenda that is aligned with their interests. Immigrant integration is—and will continue to be—critical to the nation’s civic, cultural, and economic vibrancy.
New American Dreams Platform
Economy and Labor
New Americans are workers, inventors, business owners, and asset holders. New Americans are the fastest growing sector of the workforce and propel key industries that are vital to our economic future. Immigrants comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population but 17 percent of the labor force. Between 2002 and 2012, more than half of the growth in the entire U.S. labor force was due to immigrants.
Labor is a source of collective power for immigrant and refugee communities and the foundation for economic and social mobility. Yet, immigrants are disproportionately employed in lower wage and dangerous jobs. They face particular challenges based on English proficiency, limited opportunities in education and training, lack of professional networks; predatory lending practices; and, the overwhelming challenge of accessing education, job-training, and advancement opportunities while working multiple “survival” jobs with insufficient pay and unstable schedules.
NPNA believes that workers at every level and of any immigration status should be afforded opportunities to advance, treated with dignity, paid fairly, and protected against abuses in the workplace.
We must focus on growing a vibrant and vital economy for all by:
- Ensuring access to a living wage and protecting workers’ right to organize
- Increasing New Americans’ access to workforce development programs
- Supporting New American asset building
- Developing a streamlined program for professional immigrant integration
- Addressing temporary and skilled worker needs
What is immigrant integration?
Integration is a two-way process, one that strengthens the systems and tools that allow immigrants in the U.S. to participate in their jobs and communities, support their families, and in turn benefits all Americans by giving immigrants the opportunity to contribute to the vitality of the nation as a whole.
NPNA Immigrant Integration Principles
Who are new Americans?
New Americans are foreign born individuals living in the United States, including naturalized citizens, lawfully present non-citizens, and undocumented immigrants.
As of 2013, there were 41.3 million new Americans in the U.S. That’s 13 percent of the total U.S. population. New Americans and their U.S. born children now number approximately 80 million persons, or one-quarter of the overall U.S. population. We also use the term new Americans to refer to refugees living in the U.S., about 70,000 of whom have been admitted each year under the Obama administration. Though we use the term broadly, new Americans represent several distinct groups with different experiences and needs. When appropriate, we distinguish between those groups. Overall, though, our aim is to shape policy that builds power and furthers the robust integration of all new Americans, recognizing that many individuals of varying legal distinctions live in the same families, go to the same schools, and contribute to shared communities.