St. Louis immigration attorney Jim Hacking on the White House decision to honor pro-immigrant groups.

St. Louis immigration attorney Jim Hacking on the White House decision to honor pro-immigrant groups.

This week, the White House honored groups nationwide who have made a commitment to welcoming immigrants into their communities and helped support them through their time of transitioning.

Immigration Leaders receive recognition by White House

Thousands of immigrants demonstrate their commitment to being a part of America by becoming naturalized. They make sacrifices by leaving their native home and starting all over here so groups across the U.S. are stepping up to show their admiration and support for immigrants. This week is National Welcoming Week and the corresponding organization is recognizing and honoring leaders who aid newcomers to integrate into their community. The White House honored 10 local leaders for “helping immigrants integrate civilly, linguistically and socially into the fabric of their neighborhoods and our nation.” These 10 organizers are working to create an environment where immigrants and businesses would want to invest. Many times immigrants arrive as a number and are displaced among society by citizens. “I certainly understand how much it takes to support immigrants to succeed,” says Fatima, executive director for Project FINE who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina 20 years ago.

Cities nationwide following St. Louis

David Lubell, Welcoming America executive director, says that the welcoming initiative is not just about the emotional side of welcoming everyone, but it is also good for the economy. Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emmanuel wants to make the city the most welcoming in the nation because of the enormous benefits immigrants bring. St. Louis is already ahead of the game where people can see signs written in various languages at the train stations. Citizenship matters because it is a necessity for immigrants to become fully integrated with the same rights and responsibilities as other citizens. “I have yet to hear what the argument is for providing people legal status in a way that does not give them a path to citizenship,” said White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz. The White House released a statements saying that they actually want more people wanting to become Americans, not less. More than anything we need people who are willing to help immigrants succeed.

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