The New Deal for New Americans Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on October 30 by Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). The intent of the bill is to establish the National Office of New Americans, to reduce obstacles to United States citizenship, and to support the integration of immigrants and refugees into the social, cultural, economic and civic life of our shared Nation.
The bill is supported by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), a national multiethnic, multiracial partnership of 37 of the largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 31 states, including the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center (IWC). IWC joined NPNA in February 2019 and IWC Executive Director Alain Nahimana became a member of the NPNA board in October 2019.
Mr. Nahimana spoke at the press conference on the New Deal for New Americans Act in Washington, D.C., on October 30 and announced the IWC’s full endorsement: “This bill holds so much promise. Imagine how much more our communities could achieve if the current obstacles to U.S. citizenship, civic engagement, learning English, and meaningful employment opportunities were eliminated. New Americans’ contributions to the United States would have no limit. Congress needs to pass this bill for the good of our country. We hope this bill will inspire stakeholders in Maine, at both the local and state levels.”
The bill mandates a National Office on New Americans (NONA). NONA would coordinate with state and local governments and stakeholders to lead a federal refugee and immigration integration and inclusion strategy; eliminate favoritism toward the wealthy and privileged in relation to voting and citizenship rights; launch federally funded programs for English language learning and workforce development; raise refugee admissions to a minimum of 110,000 people per year; give access to comprehensive legal services throughout the immigration process, including community navigators, “know your rights” education, and legal services for refugees and immigrants.
Passage of the bill would reset the current federal narrative from exclusion toward inclusion, and would commit significant federal resources to support state and local governments’ and communities’ efforts to help immigrants and refugees with integration.