DETROIT – As the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) gears up for the 12th Annual “New American Dreams” National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC2019) Oct 20-22, the stakes could not be higher for those working on the front lines of immigrant and refugee issues.
Last week, the Trump administration announced it would massively cut the level of refugees admitted into the country to 18,000 per year – levels not seen in decades. The announcement is causing grave concern among immigrant and refugee advocates at a time when 65.6 million individuals have been forcibly displaced worldwide because of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“We never imagined the cruelty and indifference to suffering that is coming from the federal government,’ said Kayse Jama, a former refugee from Somalia and Co-Founder and Executive Director of Unite Oregon, “But we are prepared. Our collective action is empowering immigrants and refugees to defend themselves, stand strong.”
Jama is among those who will be addressing refugee issues and the global refugee and migration crisis on NIIC’s MainStage in Detroit.
The NIIC 2019 will present a thoughtful “New American Dreams” vision and policy platform to move the nation forward in these uncertain times. Some of the most important priorities include investing in naturalization programs, English as a second language, training and job preparedness, legal services, and due process for immigrants.
Most importantly, as the Trump administration slashes programs, hikes up restrictions to citizenship, and eliminates access to enter the country legally, the need for a robust response from lawmakers is increasingly needed.
“A bipartisan front in Congress must stand up for the principles of naturalization and integration that have been a cornerstone of our identity as a nation. When whole populations of immigrants and refugees are excluded from civic life, that leads to resentment and disengagement from society. That has never been a good policy – not in the past, not now,” said Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Rights (CHIRLA), NPNA Executive Committee Board Member and MainStage Speaker at this year’s NIIC.
NPNA’s National Immigrant Integration Conference: New American Dreams, is led by NPNA and its 35 member and affiliated immigrant organizations from across the country. Now in its 12th year, the conference runs over three days and is attended by more than 1,400 leaders annually. The 2019 conference will include over 55 Main Stage plenaries and issue area Track sessions with leaders from across the country; Concert of Colors Live at the NIIC, a free evening of performance open to conference-goers and the general public in Detroit; and is co-located with the Detroit Presidential Forum on Economic, Immigrant & Racial Justice.
NIIC is co-hosted by Michigan United, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) and ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services), the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the United States. ACCESS, with 11 locations and more than 120 programs serving metro Detroit, is one of the largest social service providers in Michigan and offers a wide range of social, economic, health, and educational services to a diverse population. Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) is a leading legal resource center for Michigan’s immigrant communities. MIRC works to build a thriving Michigan where immigrant communities experience equity and belonging. Michigan United is the largest statewide organizing coalition, comprised of some 50 faith, labor, business, and community institutions fighting for the dignity of all people, an economy that works for the many, a participatory democracy that is strong, and a society that protects civil rights.
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) leads the annual National Immigrant Integration Conference. In the past two years, NPNA partners have assisted over 50,000 immigrants to become U.S. citizens and pursue legal status. NPNA harnesses the collective power and resources of the country’s 35 largest regional immigrant rights organizations in 37 states. It aims to achieve a vibrant, just and welcoming democracy for all.