They say all politics is local, right? While most of the debate about immigration focuses on congressional action (or inaction), local communities across the country are the ones who feel the value of immigration most tangibly.
Now active in more than 50 communities – more than 80 percent of which are in conservative states – the NAE State & Local team works with policymakers, business, and civic leaders to promote policies and programs that help create jobs and drive economic growth.
Around the country we have seen wins at the state and local levels that are changing the landscape and creating an environment where all residents can reach their full potential. This includes 30 municipal offices dedicated to immigrant inclusion; 23 local strategic plans for immigrant integration; tuition equity policies in 22 states; and 32 states plus Washington, DC that have a state Seal of Biliteracy.
In 2017, we released New Americans and a New Direction: The Role of Immigrants in Reviving the Great Lakes Region, a report drawing attention to the way immigrants have helped bring many Rust Belt cities back from the brink. We published the report in partnership with the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, which, in turn, is using the report’s findings to press policymakers for reform.
NAE is also scaling our state and local work through the Gateways for Growth Challenge – a competitive opportunity offered in partnership with Welcoming America – for local governments, chambers of commerce, and non-profit organizations to jointly apply for tailored research, direct technical assistance, and matching grants to support their strategic planning processes.
One of the most valuable partners we have identified are local chambers of commerce. Chamber leaders understand that immigration is critical to growth, and they recognize the reliance local businesses have on immigrants as entrepreneurs, employees, and customers. We are delighted to include chambers of commerce from coast to coast in our Global Talent Chamber Network.