More than 1,300 policymakers, community organizers, academics and others in the immigrant-serving field attended the 2015 National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC) from December 13 to 15, 2015, in New York City. This NIIC was the largest to date, and it engaged attendees from across the country in thought-provoking sessions and productive discussions across 11 tracks including Welcoming Communities, Academic Perspectives, and Adult Education and Workforce Development. Notable speakers included New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Representative Luis V. Gutierrez. Three presidential candidates, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Governor Martin O’Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders, were also invited to share their thoughts and policy positions regarding immigration. A common theme among speakers was addressing recent spikes in anti-immigrant rhetoric while providing hope for comprehensive immigration reform.
The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) Public Education Institute Director Denzil Mohammed and Assistant Director Crystal Ye participated in the conference and attended a variety of sessions such as “How Can Academic Researchers and Community Activists and Advocates Best Work Together,” “Beyond the Single Story: How New Waves of Asian and African Migration are Transforming Receiving Communities,” and “Fixing Brain Waste,” a special session that featured Dr. James Witte, research director at the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture between The ILC and George Mason University. The session highlighted findings from Steps to Success: Integrating Immigrant Professionals in the United States, the survey for which was conducted by Dr. Witte and his research team.
The 2016 NIIC will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, and will be hosted by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.