Largest Yearly National Gathering of Immigration and Refugee Rights Leaders Challenges U.S. to Live up to Promise of Statue of Liberty; Present Vision for Moving a United Country Forward; Promote Immigrant Civic Engagement
DETROIT – As the 2020 presidential primary campaign picks up steam, theNational Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) today announced its 12th Annual “New American Dreams” National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC2019) to be held Oct. 20-22, 2019, in Detroit. At a time of historic hostility toward immigrants, refugees, and Muslims, the conference‘s main objective is to present a thoughtful “New American Dreams” vision to move our nation forward in these uncertain times.
The centerpiece of this vision is the “New American Dreams” platform – a set of goals that include federal, state, and local actions which have proven successful in their aim to protect immigrants and refugees and are grounded in the values of inclusion and compassion that remain a part of the American fabric.
The conference will enthusiastically support immigrant civic engagement, including naturalization, voting, and running for public office by new Americans. It will also share strategies for continued organizing and resistance to the racist rhetoric and policies that scapegoat and demonize immigrants.
The New American Dreams National Immigrant Conference is sponsored by NPNA and its 35-member immigrant organizations from across the country. It stretches over three days and is attended by more than 1,400 leaders. There will be a presidential forum, plenaries, and workshops with leaders from across the country, and a “Concert of Colors” open to conference-goers and the general public in Detroit.
“The U.S. has gone through ugly periods of anti-Irish and anti-Chinese hysteria, racist lynchings and Jim Crow segregation, and McCarthyite political terror. Despite these low moments, we’ve moved forward towards our ideals of inclusion of all, regardless of race, religion, and gender. We will move past this time of government-sponsored cruelty and racism as well. NPNA has a road map for how we do this,” said Steve Choi, co-chair of NPNA and the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and the son of Korean immigrants.
“The policies this administration has advanced, fly in the face of core American values and rich history as a melting pot of people seeking freedom from persecution and economic opportunity,” said Eva Millona, NPNA co-chair, a naturalized citizen from Albania, and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “We are not alone. The majority of America stands with us and against the politics of hate and cruelty.”
“Spaces like NIIC are even more important than ever,” said Angelica Salas, executive committee member for the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) and Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, who came to the U.S. from Mexico as a child. “For everyone working on issues impacting immigrants, refugees, and people of color, the need to deepen our connections, collaborations, strategizing and visioning together is especially urgent given what our communities are facing.”
With Michigan as a backdrop – a state that promises to be one of the most highly contested battleground states in the 2020 Presidential race – NIIC will hold the Detroit Presidential Forum for Economic, Immigrant & Racial Justice, an effort to bring particular attention to what’s at stake in next year’s historic election.
NIIC is co-sponsored 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 country is really at a crossroads,” said Ryan Bates, Executive Director of Michigan United, who is descendant of Polish and Lithuanian immigrants. “Will we continue down a path that divides us against each other and retreats further into an ‘America first’ framework, or will we embrace our diversity and interconnectedness with the world and work to uplift all? The NIIC will be an essential space for the entire immigrant and refugee sector to loudly affirm the latter.”
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) sponsors 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.
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