Two cities, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Littleton, Colo., have been selected as the first cities to participate in the project. The MAII program has two components: the NewCITYzen Naturalization Campaign and the CITYzenship Community Initiative.
The NewCITYzen Naturalization Campaign will highlight the benefits of naturalization, including voting rights. MAII will provide the cities with a campaign toolkit, including outreach material and public service announcements, to help launch naturalization campaigns.
The program’s CITYzenship Community Initiative assists cities in developing an action plan for managing immigrant integration challenges, as well as defining a strategy to increase immigrant outreach in advance of Census 2010. The Census, a systematic way of gathering information about the population, is used by the federal and state governments to establish funding formulas.
“These cities’ participation in NLC’s Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration program will enhance the city’s efforts in addressing the immigrant and refugee population,” said Kathleen Novak, president, National League of Cities, mayor, Northglenn, Colo. “It is our hope that, by connecting local officials and community-based organizations, cities can manage the social and economic implications of growing immigrant populations.”
The City of Fort Wayne has a population of nearly 250,000 residents, nearly 6 percent of whom are foreign born. Over the past decade, Fort Wayne has become home to the largest population of Burmese refugees in the United States, increasing the need for immigrant services in the city. MAII will provide technical assistance and training to Fort Wayne’s new Hispanic & Immigrant Liaison.
Of the more than 43,000 residents of Littleton, nearly nine percent are foreign born, 60 percent of whom are not naturalized citizens. In 2005, Littleton introduced the Littleton Immigrant Integration Initiative (LI3) to promote inter-cultural understanding, civic engagement and provide new immigrants access to basic services. LI3 will be using NewCITYzen Naturalization Campaign materials to promote the idea of naturalization in the immigrant community, and will also receive technical assistance for Census 2010.
For more information on MAII, please contact Ricardo Gambetta, NLC’s Manager, Immigrant Integration, Inclusive Communities Programs at 202-626-3153 or Gambetta@nlc.org. More information may also be found on NLC’s website at http://bit.ly/3VH0Uw.
The National League of Cities is the nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.