ICIRR Wins National Award
ICIRR has won a very prestigious national award for our exceptional immigrant integration initiatives. The Migration Policy Institute awarded ICIRR the E Pluribus Unum Prize for our work in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), noting that the partnership makes immigrant integration a deliberate, strategic priority of the state. ICIRR would like to thank the Carnegie Foundation, the Joyce Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation for their generous support over the years as the initial funders of the first Executive Order (EO).
In the ten years since the partnership began, ICIRR has empowered hundreds of thousands of immigrants with the tools necessary to be productive community members—helping more than 44,000 people become U.S. citizens through the New Americans Initiative and giving more than 650,000 immigrants access to English-language resources and other critical human services through the Immigrant Family Resource Program. The initiative’s “We Want to Learn English” program promotes English learning opportunities for immigrants and its Illinois Welcoming Center has helped nearly 5,000 people obtain the services, education and information they need from other state agencies and community-based organizations.
“With one of the largest immigrant populations in the nation, the contributions of immigrants are critical to the health of Illinois’ economy,” said Joshua Hoyt, ICIRR Executive Director. “Our New Americans Integration Initiative proactively helps immigrant families integrate effectively and succeed and can serve as a model for the federal government in welcoming immigrants to the United States”
The New Americans Integration Initiative is built around three objectives: encouraging citizenship and community engagement; building public-private partnerships to promote immigrant integration across the state; and helping IDHS update and streamline its systems to reflect the needs and strengths of new residents.
The Initiative’s citizenship program has been held up as a model, proposed for national adoption by the Brookings Institution and in the Citizenship Promotion Act sponsored in 2007 by then-Sen. Barack Obama and Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
“Through the New Americans [Integration] Initiative, we are addressing immigrant needs holistically through a comprehensive array of immigrant integration services and programs,” said Grace Hou, IDHS assistant secretary of programs. “As a result, we are allowing immigrant families to meet their basic needs, encouraging civic engagement and naturalization, and increasing employment opportunities.”
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will join ICIRR and IDHS at a local celebration of the award in early June. At the breakfast celebration, Gov. Quinn will also launch ICIRR’s next initiative with the State of Illinois, the Neighbor to Neighbor Volunteer Program.
The E Pluribus Unum Prizes program, established by Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, seeks to encourage the adoption of effective integration practices and to inspire others to take on the important work of integrating newcomers and their children so they can become full participants in U.S. society. The four winners were selected from nearly 350 applications and will each receive $50,000.
“The Illinois collaboration between state government and the leading umbrella organization for immigrant groups in Illinois is a textbook example of opening government to newcomer communities,” said MPI Senior Vice President Michael Fix, co-director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy. “This extremely successful public-private partnership shows how much good can be accomplished when major institutions take a coordinated approach to helping immigrants participate more fully in their communities.”
Additional information about the winners can be found at www.integrationawards.org.