Immigrant advancement a focus for the City

April 29, 2016
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As part of a strategic rebranding process, Mayor Martin Walsh has announced that the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians will now be named the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement in an effort to empower immigrant residents and recognize their contributions to Boston, according to a press release.

The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement will encourage the immigrant community’s active engagement in the City’s policies and programs.

The rebranding will embody a new focus of bringing immigrant voices to key conversations, in addition to the previous work that the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians has done, such as service referrals and cultural celebrations, according to Alejandra St. Guillen, director of the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement.

“This will shape how the City designs and develops policies, convenes diverse external stakeholders for important initiatives, and works collaboratively across departments to improve service delivery,” said St. Guillen, according to the press release.

Walsh has also launched Immigrant Information Corners at 24 neighborhood Boston Public Library branches to provide information about resources and services available to help the well-being of the city’s immigrant residents. The launch is the result of an agreement between Walsh and Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in June 2015 to promote citizenship in Boston by providing materials on the naturalization process, warning residents about scams, and highlighting the benefits and responsibilities of U.S. Citizenship.

“In the City of Boston our immigrant population represents a dynamic and growing landscape and it is our hope that with this rebranding effort and the launch of Immigrant Information Corners, we are better able to serve our immigrant residents,” said Walsh, according to the press release. “Immigrants interact with the city’s library branches more than any other city agency, which offers us a great opportunity to engage our residents in their neighborhoods. The impact that immigrants have on our city will continue to grow in the years ahead and it is important that we plan for this growth and make sure it reaches everyone.”

The Immigrant Information Corners will host information sessions, office hours, and workshops. Staffing and programming for these resources will be made possible through the support of Boston Cares, Corporation for National and Community Service, and Citi Community Development.

“Libraries are a very important resource for the whole community, and with new Immigrant Information Corners throughout the city they will play an increasingly significant role, providing critical information on the journey towards becoming a citizen,” said David Leonard, Boston Public Library interim president, according to the press release.

In addition to these initiatives, a City Task Force on Foreign-Trained Professionals has been formed to explore how the City can support residents who have received workforce training or higher education from outside of the United States.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has also published “Imagine All the People,” a series of demographic reports based on country or origin for our residents that provides a comprehensive profile of Boston’s diverse immigrant communities. The information can be viewed at bit.ly/1VOFzoE.

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