Communities across the United States are increasingly diverse, with people from all over the world coming to live, work, and raise families. They are now 14% of the national population. While this diversity can bring new perspectives and vibrancy to a community, it can also lead to tensions and misunderstanding. One way to foster a more inclusive society is to build a community of immigrants. Here are five ways to do just that.
Be Part of Immigrant-Serving Organizations
Several organizations in your area likely serve immigrants, whether providing English classes, legal services, or simply offering a space for community-building. Getting involved in these organizations is a great way to get to know your immigrant neighbors and learn about the unique challenges they face. You can volunteer your time, donate money or materials, or spread the word about these organizations’ excellent work. If you don’t know where to start, here are some known government organizations that seek to help immigrants:
The Office of Refugee Settlement
This government office is responsible for providing help and services to refugees. They are known to help with health care, housing, and education.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
This agency helps immigrants with things such as applying for citizenship, getting a green card, or finding out about refugee status. They also offer many resources for those who are already citizens but want to help their immigrant neighbors.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
This organization works with the government to provide refugee resettlement services. They also advocate for just and humane immigration policies. They specialize in helping vulnerable populations, such as families and unaccompanied children.
Help With Legal Issues
Many immigrants are in the United States without documentation, making them vulnerable to exploitation. You can help by getting involved with organizations that provide legal assistance to immigrants. For example, you can volunteer with a local nonprofit that provides free or low-cost legal services. Or, you can donate money to an organization working to change immigration policy at the state or federal level.
There are also many ways to support immigrants who are facing deportation. For example, you can donate to a bond fund, which helps pay for immigrants’ release from detention while they await their day in court. You can also train how to be an observer at ICE raids, so you can document what happens and be a witness for those detained.
Immigration bonds are also something many immigrants need help with in the country. You can help with immigration bonds in various ways. First, you can help them find an immigration lawyer. You can then help them post the bond, or you can help them with the conditions of their release. All three of these things will allow an immigrant to get out of detention and have a better chance at winning their case.
Support Local Businesses
One way to show your commitment to building an inclusive community is to support local businesses owned by immigrants. This not only boosts the local economy but also sends a message that you value the contributions of all community members. When you buy from immigrant-owned businesses, you help create jobs and build wealth in the community. You also help preserve the cultural heritage of the community.
And finally, one small but significant way to support immigrants is to learn some key phrases in their native language. A simple “hello” or “thank you” can go a long way toward making someone feel welcome and appreciated. You might even make a new friend in the process!
Learn About Other Cultures
Part of building an inclusive community is learning about the cultures of those around you. This doesn’t mean you have to become an expert on every culture represented in your community. However, taking some time to learn about different traditions, holidays, cuisine, and customs can go a long way toward promoting understanding and respect.
One of the best things about living in a diverse community is that there are always opportunities to celebrate different cultures and traditions. From attending cultural festivals and parades to simply hanging out with friends from different backgrounds, celebrating diversity is a great way to bring people together and build an inclusive community.
Communities across America are becoming increasingly diverse places to live, work, and raise families — which can bring many benefits but also some challenges too. Thankfully, there are many ways you and your community members can create a community for immigrants. By working together, we can build communities that reflect our shared values of inclusion and respect for all.