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Welcoming America announces today the City of Detroit, Michigan as Certified Welcoming, the first in the Wolverine State to achieve the designation.
Rachel Perić, executive director of Welcoming America, said: “I’m especially proud to congratulate Detroit on its designation as a Certified Welcoming city. As a city shaped by migration, and as our nation’s largest northern-border city, Detroit and its leaders have long recognized the connections between welcoming values and economic renewal. We applaud the many champions inside and outside of government who have worked so hard to ensure that all Detroiters can thrive, belong and prosper.”
Certified Welcoming is a formal designation by Welcoming America for cities and counties that have created policies and programs reflecting their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion. Since launching in 2017, Certified Welcoming and its operating framework, the Welcoming Standard, have served as a roadmap for local governments seeking to build truly welcoming communities. Currently, there are 14 Certified Welcoming places, including Detroit.
“We are thrilled Detroit has achieved the status of becoming a ‘’Certified Welcoming’ city,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “This designation is recognition that our city is intentional in its efforts to make sure our valued immigrant neighbors can access every opportunity our city offers. Detroiters are welcoming by their nature, and now know their city government supports them with policies and practices that ensure equitable access for all its residents, in all aspects of our society.”
The process to become Certified Welcoming takes several years and requires a multi-sector effort involving not only the mayor’s office, but also local organizations, law enforcement agencies, the education sector, and more. In Detroit’s case, the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs worked with former councilwoman Raquel Castañeda-López of district 6, the Immigration Task Force, International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, and Global Detroit/Welcoming Michigan to ensure local policies and programs met the Welcoming Standard.
Undergoing the Certified Welcoming process brought the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs closer in engagement to the Detroit Equity Council launched by Mayor Duggan in 2020 with a mission to “eliminate barriers to equity” in eight key areas, including human resources, land and development, housing, and more. The campaign, Detroit Our City, is another example of the city conveying welcoming and inclusive messages to its residents.
Detroit and the state of Michigan is well-established as a destination for immigrants and refugees. Within the past decade, nearly 31,000 refugees from 52 countries have resettled in the state. This past year, the state welcomed 1,734 refugees from Afghanistan. Between 2000 and 2019, Michigan overall experienced a 34 percent growth in foreigrn born residents, including a 13 percent increase in people who identify of Latino origin, according to the Migration Policy Institute. This trend has helped the state slow its population loss, which was reflected in the 2020 census.