Jeb Bush, Robert Putnam to Speak at Congress of Cities: General Session Will Focus on Immigrant Integration

By Pauline, Janice | Nation's Cities Weekly, October 25, 2010 | Go to article overview

Jeb Bush, Robert Putnam to Speak at Congress of Cities: General Session Will Focus on Immigrant Integration


Pauline, Janice, Nation's Cities Weekly


Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Harvard University political scientist Robert D. Putnam are the latest additions to the general session lineup for the NLC Congress of Cities & Exposition in Denver.

By putting immigration in America into historical and cultural perspective, Bush and Putnam advocate for the thoughtful and proactive integration of current and new generations of immigrants into American society.

On July 3, the two authored an op-ed on the topic that was published in "The Washington Post" and went viral on blogs across the Internet. Now, they are being asked to speak on the topic together.

Saturday morning, December 4, attendees of the 2010 Congress of Cities & Exposition will enjoy a lively conversation between the two men about the steps that governments and communities can take to "form a more successful and cohesive union" between immigrants and their communities.

As they stated in the op-ed, "Government, churches, libraries, civic organizations and businesses must cooperate to address this challenge, as they did a century ago."

The integration of new waves of immigrants into American society is often measured in decades, not years, and has often been difficult and contentious, they remarked. But, they also provide concrete and time-proven steps that governments and communities can take to make this a successful process for both communities and individuals. To read the article, "A better welcome for our nation's immigrants," visit "The Washington Post" website at www.washingtonpost.com.

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Following the general session, interested delegates will have an opportunity to participate in an interactive workshop on immigrant integration exploring a case study of efforts in the City of Selbyville, Ala.

"The challenges of integrating immigrants into the social and economic life of the U.S. are often debated nationally, but the consequences of immigration are most intensely felt at the local level, leaving many city officials looking for ways to create a smooth transition for those who have migrated from another country," said NLC President Ronald O. Loveridge, mayor, Riverside, Calif.

To assist cities and towns in integrating immigrants into their communities, in 2008, NLC launched the Municipal Action for Immigrant Integration program to help develop learning networks of city officials and staff, circulate information on successful city programs, provide training and education assistance and help municipal governments promote naturalization and civic participation.

Created in a partnership between NLC and the Knight Foundation, the initiative aims to help city officials assist eligible immigrants in becoming fully active participants in the civic and social life of their communities, according to Ricardo Gambetta, manager of inclusive communities programs for NLC. The approach aims to recognize immigrants as key participants in communities.

The general session featuring Bush and Putnam is one of four during the conference, which also includes workshops, Leadership Training Institute seminars and mobile workshops. For more information about the conference and to register, visit www.nlc congressofcities.org. By registering online, by fax or e-mail, attendees can save their city a $100 onsite processing fee.

Jeb Bush

Bush was elected the 43rd governor of the state of Florida on November 3, 1998, and was reelected by a wide margin in 2002.

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