Immigrant integration is a complex concept that is fundamentally tied to the ongoing debate about the role of immigrants in our society and our different visions of a thriving America. GCIR's Immigrant Integration Framework builds on the vision that the United States, to remain strong and prosperous, must continue to be the land of opportunity where people of all color, cultural background, and walks of life can put down roots, build a better life, and become contributing members of society.
Guided by this vision, GCIR defines immigrant integration as a dynamic, two-way process in which newcomers and the receiving society work together to build secure, vibrant, and cohesive communities. We believe that integration should be an intentional process that engages and transforms all community stakeholders, enriching our social, economic, and civic life over time. Mutual responsibility and benefits, multi-sector involvement, and multi-strategy approach are the cornerstones of GCIR's Immigrant Integration Framework. We believe these elements are critical to any effort to integrate immigrants.
GCIR utilizes the term "integration" and not "assimilation" to emphasize respect for and incorporation of differences and the need for mutual adaptation. "Integration" also reflects an appreciation of diversity instead of the homogeneity that "assimilation" has come to connote.[source] In addition, the literal meaning of integration--combining and coordinating separate elements to create a harmonious, interrelated whole--captures our belief in the importance of immigrant integration to our society.
GCIR's Immigrant Integration Toolkit, Investing in Our Communities: Strategies for Immigrant Integration, provides a framework to help foundations incorporate immigrant needs and contributions into their grantmaking. With the goal of helping funders strengthen both local communities and the country as a whole through newcomer integration strategies, the toolkit offers foundations:
- Concrete recommendations to guide philanthropic investment in immigrant integration activities that connect directly to the missions and priorities of individual foundations.
- The historical perspective on immigrant integration, as well as the demographic, economic, and social imperatives that drive the need for integration today.
- The immigrant integration framework which identifies key stakeholders in the two-way integration process, six pathways to integration, and ways in which integration benefits both the newcomers and the receiving society.
- Profiles of more than 75 promising program and policy models that can inform work in local communities in the areas of community planning, language access, English acquisition, education, health and well-being, economic mobility, equal treatment, social cultural interaction, and civic participation and citizenship.
- A filmography describing recent documentaries that put a human face on complex immigration issues--as well as a DVD of short film clips that can be used to engage foundation colleagues and other stakeholders in productive discussions on immigrant issues.
- A resources section providing fast facts on immigration, a glossary of terms, an overview of U.S. immigration history, and an annotated listing of recommended readings.
Immigrant Integration Framework