President Obama recognizes welcoming efforts and creates White House Task Force

Image: Barack Obama

President Obama takes questions about his recent immigration action in Nashville, Tenn., on Dec. 9, 2014.

A growing number of communities here in Nebraska and across the nation are recognizing that our cities and towns thrive when diverse people from around the world feel valued and want to put down roots.

Tuesday in Nashville, President Obama recognized Welcoming America founder and Executive Director David Lubell and the community of Nashville as one such community at a town hall meeting.

Read more: David Lubell, “Why I’ll be in Nashville today”

“Any economist will tell you economies with younger work forces grow faster than those with an aging work force,” said President Obama as he described a more inclusive and prosperous future for those communities like Nashville that seize the opportunity to become more welcoming to all newcomers.

“This is what makes America exceptional,” he said, “that we welcome strivers and dreamers from all around the world.”

President Obama confirmed his commitment to immigrant and refugee integration efforts and to creating welcoming communities by creating the White House Task Force on New Americans to coordinate federal strategy to better integrate new Americans into communities and support state and local efforts.

The President stressed that connecting new immigrants with long-time residents creates a foundation of respect. “Civility comes when long time residents and newcomers know each other. Immigration has always elicited emotion,” the President said, noting people had similar concerns when Irish, German or Polish, Chinese or Japanese immigrants have come to the United States in the past.

Welcoming Tennessee and Nashville for All of Us are initiatives similar to those in 42 communities across the country, including Nebraska Is Home, where locally led efforts in our state help communities thrive by empowering and engaging New Americans, and helping long time community members get to know their immigrant neighbors and see them as an essential asset.

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