NIIC 2015 - Program

Plenary sessions will feature key national leaders and a launch of our Platform for New Americans – a vision for the future of federal immigrant integration policy that will build on the recommendations developed President Obama’s White House Task Force on New Americans.

NIIC 2015 includes 11 issue-tracks (below) – our most expansive cohort yet put together by experts in each field.

There will also be book talks, film series and a number of special sessions, including some hosted by key NIIC partners. Unless otherwise indicated, these sessions are open to all NIIC registrants.

Tracks (In alphabetical order):

Academic Perspectives

This new track will raise the profile of the vital academic perspectives that further immigrant integration policies and programs and help to shape the federal narrative about what integration means.


  • The National Academy of Sciences Report on Immigrant Integration Monday December 14 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Salon I
  • Contact, Trust and Civic Engagement among Whites, Blacks, and New Immigrants in Philadelphia and Atlanta Monday December 14 / 3:00PM-4:30PM / Location: Salon H
  • Non Citizen Voting: A New Frontier for Civic Integration *Co-sponsored with Rights/Freedoms track Tuesday December 15  / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Williamsburg
  • How Can Academic Researchers and Community Activists and Advocates Best Work Together? Tuesday December 15  / 12:00PM-1:30PM / Location: Salon G 

Administrative Relief

NIIC 2015 will occur almost exactly a year after the President's monumental executive action to provide relief to five million immigrants through DAPA and expanded DACA. Last year, we designed content-rich, practical sessions aimed at organizations and intuitions that would be at the forefront of administrativerelief implementation. Considering that the program is on hold right now, the track will address the most pressing challenges facing the field come December.


  • Key Messages & Messengers to Reach Eligible Populations Monday December 14 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Greenpoint
  • BIA Recognition & Accreditation: Major Proposed Changes, How they Affect You and Your Organization and More Monday December 14 / 1:15PM-2:45PM / Location: DUMBO
  • The State of “Ready” Monday December 14 / 3:00PM-4:30PM / Location: Navy Yard
  • Tech Tools to Augment Existing Capacity Tuesday December 15 / 12:00PM-1:30PM / Location: Salon H 

Adult Education and Workforce Development

This track will explore effective policy and program solutions for improving the access to — and the quality of — adult education and workforce training that will prepare immigrants for family- wage jobs. It will include workshops focused on leveraging the country’s major new workforce law for expanded and more effective services for immigrants and refugees; helping DACA youth access programs that will help them qualify for legal protections and improve their skills and earnings; and building employer partnerships that support your organization’s mission and help immigrant and refugee workers advance.


  • Putting WIOA to Work for Immigrants and Refugees Monday December 14 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Salon G
  • Employer Engagement Monday December 14 / 3:00PM-4:30PM / Location: Salon F
  • Educational & Workforce Success for DACA Youth: Making the Most of DACA’s Promise Tuesday December 15 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Greenpoint 

Arts, Media & Culture

The Arts, Media, and Culture track of the National Immigrant Integration Conference will highlight the critical role of the media (mainstream, grassroots, ethnic, and DIY media-makers), culture-producers, artists, writers, and more in the national movement for immigrant rights and justice. The track aims to give conference participants an understanding of the critical shifts in ways of thinking, talking, reporting, and making art with immigration and New American/Immigrant experiences at the centerfold. What does the landscape of media and culture as pertaining to immigration look like? How do media and cultural producers help shift the debate on immigration? How can we work with the media and cultural producers to create a sustainable immigrant rights movement? How is art being used as to effect advocacy? This track will also explore the intersections of immigration, race, and culture in 2015 and the work we have to do together to uplift communities.


  • Words Matter: Speaking Out Through Media Sunday, December 13 / 3:15 PM-4:45PM / Location: Salon I
  • Shifting Cultures on Immigration, Identity and Race Tuesday, December 15 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Salon G
  • Hands-On Art and Culture Projects for Immigrants Rights Tuesday, December 15 / 12:00PM-1:30PM / Location: Navy Yard 

Business and Financial Empowerment

The Business and Financial Empowerment track will highlight innovative public-private partnerships and strategies for engaging stakeholders across sectors in support of immigrant integration. The objectives of the track are to: • Educate conference participants about how to engage the business sector and employers in national, state and local immigration policy advocacy efforts • Facilitate the sharing of best practices in immigration advocacy and immigrant integration efforts among business groups, employers and other private sector stakeholders • Build on existing NIIC participation from the private sector and attract new audiences from business, technology and other important sectors to the conference


  • Empowering Immigrant and Refugee Entrepreneurs through Financial Inclusion Monday December 14 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Salon F
  • Bringing Everyone to the Table: How Multi-Sector Strategic Planning Efforts Can Maximize Community Impact Monday December 14 / 1:15PM-2:45PM / Location: Salon F
  • Engaging the Business Community in State and Local Policy Advocacy Tuesday December 15 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Golden Boardroom 


An astounding 8.8 million “legal permanent residents” (LPRs) in the U.S. are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship today, but have not taken this final step towards full participation in our society. There is little debate about the value of citizenship – from increased individual earnings to the ability to vote to tangible economic benefits to the communities where immigrants live – citizenship is an untapped engine for immigrant opportunity and the promotion of social cohesion and civic engagement. Significantly, naturalization has the potential to critically impact the immigrant rights movement and the broader political landscape. Nonetheless, the barriers to naturalization and beyond are significant – from building legal and community-based infrastructure to help immigrants navigate a complicated process on scale to helping newly naturalized immigrants register to vote and gain financial skills to leverage their new status. In response, cities and organizations have stepped into the breach, developing innovative strategies to address the needs of potential and newly naturalized citizens. This track will highlight innovations in the field, while strategizing about challenges and opportunities to continue building the movement to more fully integrate immigrants into the social, economic, and civic fabric of our communities.


  • Strategies to Build Legal Service Infrastructure Across the Nation Sunday December 13 / 3:15 PM-4:45PM / Location: Golden Boardroom
  • The Art of Effective Outreach: Getting the Numbers to Impact Change Monday December 14 / 1:15PM-2:45PM / Location: Golden Boardroom
  • Intersections Across our Citizenship Movement Tuesday December 15 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Salon H 

Economic Justice

More than intersecting struggles, the immigrant and workers' rights movements are two-sides of the same coin: each depends on the other for strength and survival. For far too many immigrants working life is dominated by jobs that provide poverty wages, little-to-no benefits, and exploitative working conditions. Immigration status is used to intimidate workers from standing up for their legal rights and building collective power. However, labor is also a key source of power for immigrant communities. Immigrants are the fastest growing sector of the workforce and propel key industries that are vital to the economy. At this moment when the fate of the middle class is being debated on a national stage, immigrants are driving forward inventive campaigns to build worker power and economic justice in their jobs and communities. This track will be a space to strategize for the future of fighting for economic justice and empowerment for all Americans.


  • Building Worker Power on the Job, Online, and in the Streets Sunday December 13 / 3:15 PM-4:45PM / Location: Greenpoint & Williamsburg
  • Making the Law Work for Us: Winning Pro-worker, Pro-immigrant Policies and Building the Power to Make Them Real Monday December 14 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Navy Yard
  • Taking on the Puppet Masters: Targeting the Big Private Opponents Behind the Politicians Tuesday December 15 / 12:00PM-1:30PM / Location: Golden Boardroom 


Our country's demographics continue to change rapidly, presenting new challenges and opportunities to education systems. This year, for the first time in our nation's history, the majority of students enrolled in public schools are students of color, immigrants and refugees. Yet around the country, many school systems continue to struggle to successfully support and integrate immigrant children and families and build on the important strengths they bring to their classrooms and communities. This track will explore how communities and groups around the US are enacting policy change, mobilizing communities and applying pressure on education systems from early learning through the K-12 years to better meet the needs of our country's young immigrant and refugee population and support their educational success.


  • Organizing to Build Power Among Immigrant Parents Sunday December 13 / 3:15 PM-4:45PM / Location: Salon G
  • Redefining "High Quality" in Early Childhood Services to Meet the Needs of Diverse Young Children and Families Monday December 14 / 1:15PM-2:45PM / Location: Navy Yard
  • Systems-level and School-based Responses to Addressing the Complex Needs of Unaccompanied Minors Tuesday December 15 / 12:00PM-1:30PM / Location: Salon F 


Two years into implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), much has changed to further access to health care for many immigrant communities. The work is not done, however, to ensure that immigrants can lead healthy lives. This track focuses on ways that immigrants can obtain access to affordable care, including those currently left uninsured, and ways to make this care more effective and responsive. This is the second year the NIIC will offer a track on health.


  • Campaigns to expand coverage & care for the remaining uninsured Sunday December 13 / 3:15 PM-4:45PM / Location: Salon H
  • Addressing the health of LGBT immigrants Monday December 14 / 1:15PM-2:45PM / Location: Salon G
  • Community Health Workers: A Prescription for Health Equity and Justice Tuesday December 15 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Salon F 

Rights and Freedoms

An essential aspect of immigrant integration is full participation of immigrants in civic and political life, whether in the workplace, in government, or working among the grassroots. Immigrant communities are developing and implementing creative strategies to win broader rights and greater inclusion, often in the face of harsh public policies and hostile attitudes but just as often working alongside progressive partners who have engaged in similar struggles. This track explores how immigrants are building their own power and learning from allies to move toward greater inclusion.


  • Combatting Overpolicing, Racism, and Xenophobia Monday December 14 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Salon H
  • Global Response to Migration, the Crisis of Citizenship Monday December 14 / 1:15PM-2:45PM / Location: Salon H
  • Decriminalize. Decarcerate. Liberate. Monday December 14 / 3:00PM-4:30PM / Location: Salon I
  • Non Citizen Voting: A New Frontier for Civic Integration Tuesday December 15 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Williamsburg 

Welcoming Communities

The Welcoming Communities track (formerly known as the Receiving Communities track) focuses on promoting practices and policies to create welcoming, immigrant-friendly and economically vibrant communities where immigrants, refugees and U.S.-born residents can thrive and transform their communities. This year’s track sessions will tackle some of our movement's greatest challenges, including an alarming spike in anti-Muslim rhetoric and activity. Sessions will also provide an opportunity to examine the implications of changing demographics in the immigrant population, and they will cover ways in which to define and prioritize welcoming work. Come learn from national and local experts leading groundbreaking efforts and participate in a rich dialogue to share lessons learned and connect with peers who are building bridges across differences.


  • Understanding and Addressing Today's Organized Backlash Against Muslim Immigrants and Refugees Sunday December 13 / 3:15 PM-4:45PM / Location: Salon F
  • Beyond the Single Story: How New Waves of Asian and African Migration are Transforming Receiving Communities Monday December 14 / 1:15PM-2:45PM / Location: Salon I
  • What Makes a Welcoming and Inclusive Community Tuesday December 15 / 9:45AM-11:15AM / Location: Salon I