Immigrant Integration is a dynamic, two-way process in which immigrants and the receiving society work together to build secure, vibrant, and cohesive communities. As an intentional effort, integration engages and transforms all community members, reaping shared benefits and creating a new whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Washington State has had a long history of welcoming immigrants and bringing them into the greater community. We have understood that we need to include all members of our community and foster their ability to contribute to the economy and society.
OneAmerica is leading the way in ensuring that all immigrants in Washington are respected and have the opportunity to share their cultures and integrate and contribute to America the best way they know how.
Education. OneAmerica spearheaded Dual-Language Instruction in Washington’s elementary schools. This revolutionary program has elementary school students in Washington go to school in two languages: English and the second-most-spoken language in the student’s region. This program has an incalculable effect in making immigrants comfortable in their new homes, preserving their language and culture, and best of all, students who speak English only get cognitive benefits from learning two languages at a young age that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Citizenship. One of the most effective ways for immigrants to integrate into their new home is to become a naturalized citizen. Citizens gain the right to vote, can run for office and sponsor family members to come to the US, and most importantly, citizens can never be deported. Since 2009, our Washington New Americans program has assisted more than 5,000 people in filling out their naturalization forms and taking the final step to becoming citizens.
Language. One of the most significant barriers to the civic, economic and cultural integration for immigrants and refugees is language. OneAmerica is committed to ensuring that residents who don’t speak English well can access the resources and services they need regardless of their immigration status. OneAmerica is also spearheading local and national efforts to improve access to high quality workforce development and adult education strategies that support language learning for adults and their families, getting immigrants and refugees on a path toward prosperity.