Create a Welcoming and Inclusive City for Immigrants and Refugees

Andrea was born and raised in Roxbury and the South End, surrounded at an early age by immigrants and people of African descent. Some of her earliest memories are of her Puerto Rican neighbors and their vibrant culture, as well as their shared struggle with the Black community to remain in their neighborhood and not be pushed out by gentrification. As a Councilor, Andrea has represented one of the city’s most diverse districts, with large Latino and Latinx, Haitian, Cape Verdean, and Vietnamese communities and she has seen first-hand how these communities contribute to who we are as a City. Andrea has also witnessed and supported efforts for the City to protect our immigrant communities and create welcoming communities. As Mayor, Andrea will fight to ensure our immigrant and refugee communities are given the rights, opportunities, city services, and voice in the government and systems that serve them. As the City Councilor for one of the most diverse districts, Andrea knows firsthand that local government must engage its immigrant and refugee communities with intentionality, respect, and a firm commitment to protecting them from discrimination. 

  • Launch an Immigrant Advisory Council. As Mayor, Andrea will launch an Immigrant Advisory Council to weigh in on the city‚Äôs communication methods, processes and procedures to access city services, and ways to increase civic inclusion and participation among Boston‚Äôs immigrant community. This Council will include leaders from immigrant-serving organizations, immigrant advocacy organizations, and the immigrant business community. With the assistance of interpreters where needed, the Advisory Council will work directly with the Office of Immigrant Advancement and have direct contact with the Mayor to help facilitate greater input and inform decision-making by the Mayor‚Äôs Office.
  • Make Municipal IDs a reality. Every Boston resident, regardless of their immigration status, deserves to be included and empowered in our civic process and have equitable access to services. As Mayor, Andrea will make good on the City‚Äôs promise in 2017 to launch a municipal I.D. program to empower and uplift our most vulnerable communities.
  • Ensuring linguistically and culturally relevant outreach and access to services. The City has a responsibility to promote social cohesion and inclusion among all its residents. This means creating a dedicated team to review the full spectrum of city services and implement outreach services that are culturally relevant, linguistically accessible, and mindful of different literacy competencies. In addition, Andrea will ensure there is a City-wide policy that all forms for permits, applications, and any other information are accessible in multiple languages and do not need or imply the need for proof of immigration status as a requirement to fill out.
  • Investing in our City budget to increase City services. When it comes to the immigrant members of our communities we must be intentional, innovative, and relentless in our efforts to build access to services. Making substantial investments in the City‚Äôs budget and leveraging public/private partnerships is how we will tangibly foster a welcoming community in Boston. As Mayor, Andrea will champion expanding the existing Mayor‚Äôs Office of Immigrant Advancement, increasing resources for legal aid and citizenship services, and building language access with native speakers and certified interpreters on staff through 311 and 911.
  • Creating a dedicated line item to support immigrant Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in Boston. Boston is fortunate to have a robust group of organizations working within immigrant communities: they are the trusted leaders and voices who we often lean on to help us promote a program or policy, but we do not consistently support these organizations. As Mayor, Andrea will dedicate specific money for these organizations and encourage groups to come together to present solutions and establish a true partnership with the City to further strengthen their and our community work.
  • Staff the Office of Neighborhood Services with equity and intentionality in mind. We know that we need to meet our immigrant and refugee communities where they are and that includes investing in the thoughtful outreach we need to do so effectively. As Mayor, Andrea will prioritize increasing the number of neighborhood services liaisons and organizers in communities with higher percentages of immigrants and create dedicated liaisons for the refugee community. Boston‚Äôs immigrant community is vastly diverse and wide, with one in four Boston residents being foreign-born, and many who do not believe they deserve more from their government. To create meaningful relationships, learn, and take feedback on how city government can do better, we need to hire more liaisons who speak Spanish, Mandarin/Cantonese, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese and other languages Bostonians speak.
  • Conduct a city-wide language skills audit. In a city of almost 700,000 people, we know that no one team of city staff can reach our hardest to reach immigrant communities, that is why we need greater linguistic and cultural diversity across City departments. Andrea will work with her Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team to conduct a language skills audit from which to target staff recruitment efforts.
  • Expand City support for English classes and Job-Skills Training and Workforce Development. As Mayor, Andrea will expand funding and support for CBOs that provide job-training skills and English language instruction for immigrants as workers and entrepreneurs. Her office of workforce development will also partner with the private sector to identify opportunities to better support this growing and talented workforce. This includes ensuring the City‚Äôs workforce development programs are open to all immigrants regardless of immigration status.
  • Support Immigrant Youth. In a city where over half our public school students live in a household where a language other than English is spoken, we must fight to ensure every young person and adult who needs it has access to learn English. Andrea will push BPS to close the widening education gap current English Learners are experiencing and expand BPS‚Äôs multilingual and multicultural curriculum.
  • Be a staunch advocate for immigrants with our State and Federal leaders. The damage and distrust fostered by previous government leaders still remains in our communities. Andrea will ensure that Boston strengthens the Trust Act and not assist or share data with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Andrea will also leverage her relationships with state leaders and federal leaders to improve conditions and further civil rights for immigrants. This means strengthening Boston as a sanctuary city, passing the State‚Äôs Safe Communities Act, and pushing federal agencies to stop unlawful deportations that re-traumatize communities. It also means supporting the Biden Administration‚Äôs efforts to expand the paths to citizenship and keep families together.