BOSTON – Thursday, April 14, 2016 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the strategic rebranding of the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, formerly known as the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians, to help encompass the evolving needs of Boston’s immigrant community. As part of a concerted effort to empower immigrant residents and recognize their contributions to our city, Mayor Walsh also launched Immigrant Information Corners at the Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square and 24 neighborhood branches to provide information about resources and services available to help advance the well-being of the city’s immigrant residents.
The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement signifies the administration’s proactive engagement of the immigrant community by encouraging their active participation in the city’s policies and programs. Twenty-seven percent of Boston residents are foreign-born, and nearly half of Boston Public School students have a foreign-born parent.
“In the City of Boston our immigrant population represents a dynamic and growing landscape and it is our hope that with this rebranding effort and the launch of Immigrant Information Corners, we are better able to serve our immigrant residents,” said Mayor Walsh. “Immigrants interact with the city’s library branches more than any other city agency, which offers us a great opportunity to engage our residents in their neighborhoods. The impact that immigrants have on our city will continue to grow in the years ahead and it is important that we plan for this growth and make sure it reaches everyone.”
“While service referrals and cultural celebrations will always be vital functions or our office, we will now focus on bringing important voices into key conversations,” said Alejandra St. Guillen, Director of the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement. “This will shape how the City designs and develops policies, convenes diverse external stakeholders for important initiatives, and works collaboratively across departments to improve service delivery.”
The launch of the Immigrant Information Corners is the result of a letter of agreement signed by Mayor Walsh and Leon Rodriguez, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in June 2015 to promote citizenship in Boston by providing materials on the naturalization process, warning residents about scams, and highlighting the benefits and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship.
The Immigrant Information Corners will also provide information about financial empowerment resources and general public and community services. Some Immigrant Information Corners will feature information sessions, office hours, and workshops. The initiative involves a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, USCIS, the Boston Public Library, the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment and community organizations. Staffing and programming for the Immigrant Information Corners is made possible through the support of Boston Cares, Corporation for National and Community Service, and Citi Community Development.
“Libraries are a very important resource for the whole community, and with new Immigrant Information Corners throughout the city they will play an increasingly significant role, providing critical information on the journey towards becoming a citizen,” said David Leonard, Boston Public Library Interim President.
“We are pleased to be part of today’s launch of Immigrant Information Corners at the Boston Public Library,” said Denis Riordan, USCIS Boston District Director. “Boston’s aspiring citizens will now be able to visit their local library branch to find free USCIS citizenship preparation information and materials. Our nation’s libraries play a vital role in serving immigrant communities, and we are proud to join in this announcement during National Library Week. ”
Connected to the overall vision for the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, Mayor Walsh also announced the formation of the City’s Task Force on Foreign-Trained Professionals to explore how city government can support residents who have received workforce training or higher education from outside of the United States. Additionally, the Boston Redevelopment Authority published “Imagine All the People” a series of demographic reports based on country or origin for our residents that provides a comprehensive profile of Boston’s diverse immigrant communities.