12 Ways to Promote Integration in Your Community

Last Updated

June 28, 2023

This guide offers strategies for community members interested in creating an inclusive community that values and embraces newcomers. Immigrant integration/inclusion, which is most successful at the local level, creates a community where everyone feels welcomed, supported, and empowered regardless of immigration legal status. Positive day-to-day interactions between residents encourage mutual understanding of different perspectives and lead to increased respect amongst all those calling a community home. Creating an atmosphere of respect for the thoughts and opinions of all residents requires thoughtful and purposeful effort. Use this guide as you navigate ideas towards creating a welcoming place for all.

  1. Educate yourself, family, neighbors, and colleagues on immigrant integration and its benefits. Start by reading CLINIC’s white papers: Immigrant and Community Integration: Fulfilling Catholic Social Teaching and American Values, which facilitates a better understanding of integration as a concept; and Immigrant and Community Integration Step by Step Guide to Local Integration Programming, which can help you think about the process of designing, implementing, evaluating, and assessing an integration initiative.
  2. Challenge unwelcoming remarks about immigrants in your community, at work, and at home. Use facts and resources from nonpartisan sources, such as the Pew Research Center and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  3. Become friends with a newcomer and learn a few words in his or her native language.
  4. Volunteer your time. There are many opportunities and ways to contribute back to your community while engaging with newcomers. Volunteer to mentor English language learners or help with citizenship test preparation or at a local refugee resettlement agency in your community to help newly arrived refugees learn English, find a job, and adjust to their new home. You can also volunteer at a nearby Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that serves lower-income immigrant (and nonimmigrant) families in your community. Check CLINIC’s network or the Corporation for National and Community Service to find an organization in your area seeking volunteers.
  5. Participate and attend local welcoming events. Sign up for newsletters of immigration legal service providers in your community to stay abreast on any community events that promote immigrant inclusion.
  6. Ask your local library, museum, and community center to include perspectives of immigrants in planned public events, classes that are offered, and resources that are purchased. Purchase and donate a book about immigrants or an immigrant story to your local library.
  7. Consider organizing a potluck/town hall event where residents can break bread together and talk about how immigration affects them.
  8. Hold your elected leaders accountable. Write or call your Congressional representatives to encourage action on immigration reform.
  9. Collaborate with your local community leaders and elected officials to create an inclusive community. Uplift and implement initiatives that highlight your community’s desire to create a welcoming place for all residents. Get ideas from CLINIC's network.
  10. Celebrate Citizenship Day/Week with your community every year on September 17.
  11. Offer to host a naturalization oath ceremony or naturalization application workshop in your community. Contact your local authorized immigration legal services provider or local USCIS office for more information.
  12. Donate to local immigration legal service providers to help them increase their integration efforts.