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Title: Towards a Nation of Neighbors: A Study of Immigrant-Welcoming Initiatives in Kentucky
Authors: Wu, Angela
Advisors: Mann, Anastasia
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Certificate Program: American Studies Program
Class Year: 2019
Abstract: The United States has recently seen immense growth in the size of its foreign-born population, especially in regions of the country without a significant history of immigration. This presents challenges to immigrant integration, particularly because the federal government provides little guidance in the integration process. Some receiving communities have found support from Welcoming America, a national non-profit organization that works with local governments and encourages cities to adopt immigrant-welcoming initiatives. This thesis aims to evaluate whether a city’s participation in Welcoming America’s network has a meaningful impact on the lived experiences of immigrants in the community. I conducted five focus groups with 45 immigrants in Kentucky’s three largest cities—Louisville, Lexington, and Bowling Green—to assess whether a city’s level of interaction with Welcoming America was related to how welcomed foreign-born residents felt in their communities. The results of this research suggest that immigrants feel more welcomed in cities within Welcoming America’s network than in cities outside of the network. Furthermore, during the focus group discussions, participants noted that the local factors that had the greatest impact on how welcomed they felt were access to economic opportunities, municipal government outreach to the foreign-born population, and opportunities to interact with community members from different societal groups. Local governments seeking to welcome immigrants should enact policies that address these needs.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2022

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