As Americans, we are a part of a nation of immigrants.
From the I Am An Immigrant campaign, we remember that “America’s diversity — fueled in great part by immigrants — makes us stronger and more connected as a nation. Since June of 2014, Immigrant Heritage Month has given people across the United States an opportunity to annually explore their own heritage and celebrate the shared diversity that forms the unique story of America.”
At Atipica, celebrating Immigrant Heritage is a core part of who we are. We are an international team with an immigrant Founder and CEO. We recognize that each of the customers we serve are made up of employees from all over the world.
In a time when our country’s government is actively threatening the immigrant community, some responsibility falls on employers to provide a support network, legal and otherwise, for immigrants in our communities and workplaces.
Here are a few key recommendations we provide our customers and partners on how they can celebrate the identities and heritage of immigrants, and make the workplace more welcoming and inclusive while they’re at it.
Create a Culture of Community
Create a culture of appreciation, conversation, and active community within the company relating to immigrants and immigrant heritage. For example, during Immigrant Heritage Month, consider highlighting the stories of immigrants within your company. You could create an internal communications platform, or share out on social media (only if they are comfortable with their story being shared). Sponsor events and create intentional spaces for celebration of individual and shared immigrant heritage.
Provide Tangible Support
Provide legal support and sponsorship for immigrant employees. Even if you are a small startup, consider looking to experts like Unshackled Ventures to understand how to set up legal support for immigrants applying for visas in the US. Ensure that you are never standing in the way of an employee pursuing a long term visa pathway, but rather you’re providing the legal AND psychological and mental health services necessary so that they can thrive.
Ensure Equitable Treatment of All Immigrants
Ensure you’re treating immigrants employees of all levels of the company with the same respect and support. Are your services for executives aligning with services you offer contracted workers, including cleaning staff, janitors, and bus drivers? If you work with any contingency of contracted workers, there may be a portion of your employees who are undocumented or work with a temporary work visa. Look into providing legal services and support to these employees. If you are paying for your full time employees to have immigration counsel, you should dig into the legal and psychological support you provide immigrant employees with different legal standings.
U.S. Immigration policy has not been updated in any meaningful way since the advent of the computer. Pathways to citizenship for those who have been living in the U.S. without papers for over 30 years are virtually nonexistent. Immigration with multiple degrees from countries like India, the Philippines, Mexico, and China have to wait in the “green card backlog” for anywhere from 10–20 years. And no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you know that children being ripped away from their parents at the U.S. Mexico border is immoral, inhumane, and devastating.
Use your voice and platform as leaders and companies to impact positive policy change.
Write about your support for policy change.
- Microsoft shared their support for change in their blog from 2017: Dreamers make our country and communities stronger
- Read our CEO’s Medium Post on Standing up for DACA Recipients
- Sign onto an open letter, such as this one from business leaders in support of a pathway to citizenship for immigrants
To engage in advocacy to change our country’s immigration laws, consider reaching out to one or more of the following groups and coalitions:
Donate to organizations working to empower and support the immigrant community.
- National Immigrant Law Center
- United We Dream
- California Immigrant Policy Center
- Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto
- Border Angels
- New Americans Campaign
Happy Immigrant Heritage Month!