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Boise now a “Welcoming City” for immigrants and refugees

Posted: 10:45 AM, May 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-01 14:57:21-04

BOISE — Boise Mayor Dave Bieter Wednesday announced that Boise has been certified as a Welcoming City by Welcoming America, a national non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides guidance and support to help communities become more inclusive toward immigrants and all residents.

Boise is only the third municipality in the country to receive the designation.

“This designation reflects our long-standing work to help immigrants and refugees to become true members of our community and welcomed neighbors,” said Bieter. “Boise has been a place of refuge and opportunity for refugees and immigrants since its founding, and there is no question we are richer as a community as a result. We will continue to strive to remain a leader on this issue and keep Boise a welcoming city for all.”

Led by the Mayor’s office and supported by community partners, Boise completed an intensive evaluation to earn the designation, according to Boise spokesman Mike Journee. “Local policies and programs were compared to Welcoming America’s comprehensive Welcoming Standard, which addresses a range of policies and programs from education and language access to community safety, and provides a comprehensive roadmap for immigrant and refugee inclusion.”

Partnerships, collaboration, and community involvement with organizations, like Neighbors United and the Idaho Office of Refugees, are specifically highlighted by Welcoming America in their evaluation. The Boise Police Department’s Refugee Liaison Officer position was also recognized as a best practice that has helped advance safe and connected communities.

“Like the wind in our city’s sails, refugees and other immigrants bring energy, ideas, and skills to Boise that helps us move ahead faster,” said Tara Wolfson, director at the Idaho Office for Refugees. “Boiseans can attest that building refugees’ well-being also builds our own.”

Welcoming America launched the Certified Welcoming program in April 2017 to establish a formal designation for cities and counties that have taken action on their commitment to welcoming.