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Local Governments and Communities

The 1996 federal immigration and welfare laws drastically altered the way immigrants are treated in this country, from restricting access to most major federal public benefits to denying them access to justice under the law.  States and local governments have had to cope with the effects of these laws on hardworking and tax paying immigrants while responding to the needs of a changing population. 
Many progressive states have figured out that the best way to successfully integrate immigrants is to work with them.  They have established state or city-run immigrant offices or commissions that assist newcomers in various activities, from access to services to English language training and civic participation projects.  For a list of those offices, check the following link:
  • State/Local Government Immigrant Serving Offices 
  • (July 2006): A Rural Service Provider’s Guide to Immigrant Entrepreneurship, produced by the University of Northern Iowa Regional Business Center/Small Business Development Center, Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration. The purpose of this guide is to help rural economic development leaders, small business development centers, microenterprise agencies and chambers of commerce to understand Latino entrepreneurship and to offer some best practices from those working in the field to better serve this growing segment of the business community. The recommendations and practices may be applied to providers serving other immigrant entrepreneurs as well.
  • (June 2006): The Role of Municipal Leaders in Helping Immigrants Become an Integral Part of Colorado’s Communities, the Colorado Trust and the Colorado Municipal League. This document collects some of the lessons being learned in Colorado communities in order to provide greater awareness and new ideas on how municipal leaders can proactively work to integrate immigrants into their communities.

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