America’s cities have long been gateways for immigrant arrivals. Even as increasing numbers of immigrants settle in the suburbs, urban areas continue to house the majority of the foreign-born in the United States. Many cities have developed rich networks of nonprofits, community groups and innovative programs to support immigrant and refugee communities. Many municipal governments recognize and appreciate the numerous benefits that immigrants bring to their cities, including cultural diversity, population growth, and economic development. Yet, they also struggle to address the challenges associated with integrating diverse, low-income, and limited English proficient (LEP) populations.
This edition of the Social Innovations Journal examines successful models for delivering integration services to immigrant and refugee communities, supporting immigrant leadership development, and promoting pro-immigrant policies, at the municipal level. Rather than take a sample of successful programs and policies from across the nation, we use a place-based approach that provides an in-depth examination of developments in one major U.S. city -- Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love has a longstanding tradition of serving as an immigrant gateway, and it has also experienced a recent upsurge in its immigrant population, which has inspired the creation of new nonprofit groups and collaborations to address the needs of newly immigrated communities. Philadelphia’s experiences with immigrant integration hold useful lessons for cities and smaller municipalities across the country.
We want to thank Natasha Kelemen for bringing this topic to the attention of the Social Innovations Journal and curating the articles for this edition. We hope you will read the below edition overview written by Natasha Kelemen that will inspire you to read all the published articles. This edition profiles successful, innovative, and promising examples of immigrant integration and immigrant rights work in Philadelphia across economic development, health, legal services, education, civic engagement, and social justice.
We hope this edition will inform and inspire cities across the nation to share knowledge and resources as the potential of good ideas to inspire more good ideas cannot be underestimated.
Nicholas Torres, Tine Hansen-Turton, Co-Founders
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