White House Task Force on New Americans
We can make every American feel welcome — and make our communities stronger in the process.
Welcoming Immigrants and Refugees from Around the World
The basic idea of welcoming immigrants to our shores is central to our way of life — it is in our DNA. We believe our diversity, our differences, when joined together by a common set of ideals, makes us stronger, makes us more creative, makes us different. From all these different strands, we make something new here in America.’
President Barack Obama, July 4, 2014
Our proud tradition of continually welcoming immigrants and refugees from around the world is part of what makes America exceptional. We’re bound together by the power of a simple idea—that everyone willing to work hard and play by the rules is welcome.
On November 21, 2014, the President established the White House Task Force on New Americans—a government-wide effort tasked with better integrating immigrants and refugees into American communities. Want to get more details about the Task Force's recommendations? Read the strategic action plan here.
In 2015, the Task Force has been busy implementing recommended actions and highlighting local models of success. Here’s what it has accomplished so far:
- Spearheaded the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign (BWCC) to encourage local efforts with 47 communities signed on to date
- Launched the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign to reach the 8.8 million lawful permanent residents (LPRs) eligible to apply for citizenship
- Named Presidential Ambassadors for Citizenship and Naturalization to harness the stories of prominent new Americans and U-S.-born individuals with immigrant roots to promote naturalization, bolster integration initiatives, and increase awareness of the rich contributions of new Americans
- Committed 150 Welcoming Communities AmeriCorps members to nearly 100 communities
- Launched the “Made It in America” initiative to promote entrepreneurship and held more than 80 “SBA 101” classes for immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs
- Supported five communities seeking to strengthen integration and local networks through adult education providers
Want to get more details about the Task Force's accomplishments and initiatives for the coming year? Read the one-year progress report.
Building Welcoming Communities Campaign
The President is calling on local communities to join the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign and act on a set of principles to build inclusive, welcoming communities that allow all residents to thrive and advance integration efforts in three core areas: civic, economic, and linguistic integration.
Building welcoming communities is not only the right thing to do; it’s also vital to our economic future. Immigrants start 28 percent of new businesses—and immigrants or the children of immigrants have founded more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies, which collectively employ more than 10 million people worldwide. And over the next 20 years, immigrants and their children will account for 85 percent of the net growth in our labor force.
Your actions in your community matter: Encourage your city or county to join BWCC. To learn more about this campaign, check out these resources:
Participating Cities and Counties
|Akron, OH||Crete, NE||New Orleans, LA|
|Allegheny County, PA||Dayton, OH||New York, NY|
|Anchorage, AK||Decatur, GA||Oakley, CA|
|Atlanta, GA||Denver, CO||Philadelphia, PA|
|Austin, TX||Detroit, MI||Pittsburgh, PA|
|Baltimore, MD||Grand Forks, ND||Salt Lake City, UT|
|Boise, ID||Houston, TX||San Jose, CA|
|Boston, MA||Jersey City, NJ||Santa Fe, NM|
|Charlotte, NC||Los Angeles, CA||Seattle, WA|
|Chicago, IL||Louisville, KY||St. Louis, MO|
|City & County San Francisco, CA||Macomb County, MI||St. Louis County, MO|
|City of Dodge City, KS||Montgomery County, MD||Sterling Heights, MI|
|Clinton Township, MI||Nashville, TN||Toledo-Lucas County, OH|
|Columbus, OH||Newark, NJ||York, PA|
Stand Stronger: Citizenship Awareness Campaign
According to the most recent estimates, there are approximately 13.3 million lawful permanent residents (LPRs) living in the United States, and 8.8 million of them are eligible to apply for citizenship. This includes over 3 million refugees who have resettled here since 1975 from countries that span the globe. Nearly one out of every three eligible individuals obtained LPR status in 1990 or earlier, meaning that many have been part of our communities for decades. But they don’t yet enjoy all of the rights, benefits, and responsibilities that come with being a full American citizen.
On Citizenship Day, President Obama launched the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign, a project with nonprofit Civic Nation, to encourage eligible immigrants to take an important step in their American journey and commit to citizenship.
Want to learn more about the Stand Strong Campaign and the naturalization process? Check out these materials:
- “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Public Awareness Fact Sheet
- Presidential Ambassadors for Citizenship and Naturalization Fact Sheet
- USCIS Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Campaign Materials, including PSAs, print ads, and outreach materials
- USCIS Online Civics Practice Exam
- English or citizenship preparation classes in your community
- Research your family's American roots
America's story-telling tradition is as old as our nation itself.
And as a nation of immigrants, those stories are rich and diverse. Whether you've recently embarked on your first day as an American or want to share how your ancestors came to arrive here, telling your story will help promote a sense of inclusiveness and understanding.
Join the Project
Volunteering helps build welcoming cities—and welcoming cities create space for new Americans to bring their talents into their new community.
Working with the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Task Force is encouraging all community members--including long-time residents and newcomers—to volunteer in service of building welcoming communities. That could mean helping to teach English or civics, helping a refugee settle into their new home, or simply stepping up within your place of worship or parent-teacher association. Everyone can contribute to creating more welcoming communities.
You can help right now. Visit www.serve.gov/NewAmericans to find volunteer opportunities in your community.