On November 19, 2005, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the New Americans Executive Order, a first-in-the-nation attempt to adopt a coherent, strategic, and proactive state government approach to integrate the rapidly growing immigrant population of Illinois. For this purpose, the Executive Order created a New Americans Policy Council comprised of 24 prominent Illinois business, faith, labor, community, philanthropic, and governmental leaders with experience in this field. While Illinois has undertaken several efforts to advance immigrant integration, neither it nor any other state has developed a comprehensive and strategic integration policy. Given the rapidly evolving demographics; the fast paced changes of an increasingly global economy; and the growing demand for both high-skilled and low-skilled workers; immigrant integration is one of the most overlooked issues of governance. The Policy Council's strategic approach emphasizes strategies that allow immigrants to be empowered to participate to the fullest extent possible in our economic and civic life, while fostering social cohesion with their new neighbors. This is the report of the New Americans Policy Council for the first year of the New Americans Executive Order project, published in 2006.
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