Urban Fold

New York Department Becomes Model for Integrating and Empowering Immigrants

As cities across the Unites States look to lure immigrants to grow their populations and economies, many are turning to a program in New York for advice. Kirk Semple looks at the city's pioneering Office of Immigrant Affairs.

"In the past few years, New York’s Office of Immigrant Affairs has become a prime resource — even a model — for cities around the world seeking to better accommodate and serve their increasingly diverse populations," writes Semple. "[Commissioner Fatima Shama] and her staff have provided direct assistance to more than 20 cities in the United States and abroad — including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles as well as Florence and Turin in Italy — and at least 10 eventually set up their own immigrant affairs offices."

"The office’s mandate is to serve as a bridge — 'the connective tissue,' Ms. Shama called it — between the immigrant population and city government, providing policy analysis and recommendations to the mayor as well as improving immigrants’ access to city services."

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