In 2010, the Illinois Governor signed the “New American Executive Order,” to reestablish The Office of New Americans Policy and Advocacy, to coordinate policies and programs to help newcomers fully assimilate to the state, provide more and better services to the growing number of immigrants living in Illinois, and to study the impact of immigration policy on the state.
The Governor's state policy was the first of its kind in the nation and aims to help immigrants enter the mainstream more quickly - whether that means learning English, buying a home, encouraging their children to succeed in schools, or supporting their communities in other ways.
The state has brought together key policymakers, state and local advocates for newcomers, funders, and many others to address how Illinois can better assist new Americans and the communities that receive them. Four new entities were created:
- Office of New Americans Policy and Advocacy: The Office of New Americans coordinates the policies, actions, planning, and programs of the state's government with respect to immigrant integration in Illinois , and the impact of immigration policy on Illinois and Illinoisans.
- New Americans Immigrant Policy Council: The Policy Council consults with immigrant leaders, state governmental leaders, and national policy experts to recommend strategic directions on key issues. The Policy Council is comprised of 22 prominent Illinois business, faith, labor, community, and philanthropic leaders with experience in this field. The Council focuses on a range of issues, including U.S. citizenship, human services, healthcare, and education.
- Public-private State Task Force: The Task Force is examining, agency by agency, how State government can systematically address the rapidly changing demographics of our State and assist immigrant and refugee newcomers to quickly become integrated into Illinois society.
- National Advisory Council: The National Advisory Council helps guide the work of the New Americans Executive. The Council consists of prominent national academics, business leaders, advocates and governmental practitioners who will lend their vision to the project and share the project's recommendations through their national networks.
At a time when one in five people in Illinois are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, the creation of The Office of New Americans is a culmination of policies supported and developed by the Governor in cooperation with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), a broad-based organization dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in our diverse society.