The National Immigrant Integration Conference 2019 Examines and Strategizes Under a Changing Landscape That is Hurting Immigrants and Their Families
DETROIT? – With little over a?week before the kick-off of the?12th Annual “New American Dreams” National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC2019)?Oct 20-22, immigrant and refugee rights leaders are beginning to gather in Detroit to share ideas, organize and plan the strongest response yet to the dozens of Trump administration attacks and policy changes that are hurting immigrant and refugee communities throughout this nation.
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“The NIIC is a safe space where community leaders and members can come together after a year of destructive changes and hateful policies, that have devastated our diverse communities ” said?Adonis Flores, Immigrant Rights Coordinator at Michigan United.?“We are welcoming folks to our city to make the kind of positive, thoughtful changes that will move our country forward and protect our most vulnerable immigrant neighbors and loved ones.”
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The centerpiece of these changes rests in the?"New American Dreams" platform -- a detailed plan of federal, state, and local actions that have proven successful in their aim to protect immigrants and refugees. The conference also supports initiatives that further civic engagement by new Americans, including naturalization, voting, and running for public offices.
“During my 17+ years of working on the Hill, these kinds of initiatives and the goal of becoming 100%? American were not controversial. Everyone agrees that becoming a citizen after living and participating in our country’s economy is a good thing. Only recently have we been put in the position of defending these American ideals,” said?Susan Collins, NPNA Policy and Advocacy Director.
But recent policy changes that, for example, would deny visas to immigrants joining close family in the U.S. if they lack health insurance or are judged too poor to pay out-of-pocket, require continued?resistance and strategizing on how to fight back.
“We cannot become a country where only the rich are allowed to immigrate,”?Collins said .?“What makes America the land of freedom and opportunity is the belief that, no matter your background, we all deserve the same chance to make it here. Like wealthy Americans, working Americans should be able to bring their families to the U.S., too.”
The?New American Dreams National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC) is sponsored by NPNA?and its 35-member immigrant organizations from across the country. Now in its 12th year, the conference, which is supported by over 70 organizations across the country, stretches over three days and hosts more than 1,400 leaders. This year’s conference includes a free evening of performance curated by Detroit’s renowned Concert of Colors world music festival; this special event is open to conference-goers and the general public in Detroit.
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.