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Office of Immigrant Relations

Our Initiatives

People from various cultural backgrounds dancing at World Refugee Day event in San Jose, CA

    New American Fellowship (NAF) Program

    Modeled on Dream Summer and similar programs, the SCC’s NAF provides 10-week research and professional development to 10-15 immigrants each summer. These immigrants have a temporary status or recent refugee experience and often have few other opportunities to access paid and high-quality professional development internships. Over 100 individuals have graduated through this program and continued to enrich local communities. 

    Refugee and Immigrant Forum

    OIR was a founding member and has worked continuously with the Santa Clara County Refugee and Immigrant Forum to address the issues of refugees and asylees. It also collaborates with other partners and Social Services Agencies to address refugee cries and local responses to a greater influx of refugees, asylum seekers, and international migrants without recognized status. World Refugee Day is celebrated on June 20 each year to honor refugees' strength, courage, and resilience, and OIR is one of the co-organizers.  

    Citizenship Day 

    The Santa Clara County Citizenship Collaborative organizes annual Citizenship Days to provide citizenship education and application assistance to local residents. These services are offered in 14 languages and immigration attorneys provide legal help to those who have questions and complex cases. This collaborative has helped tens of thousands of residents to naturalize and saved them tens of millions of dollars by providing pro bono and low-cost services. 

    Welcoming Week

    OIR is a member of Welcoming America and beneficiary of Gateways for Growth program for 2023. Welcoming America organizes Welcoming Week initiatives across the nation. Through Welcoming Week, organizations and communities bring together neighbors of all backgrounds to build strong connections and affirm the importance of welcoming and inclusive practices. OIR observes Welcoming Week with many different activities and resource sharing.  

    The Immigrant Belonging Project

    The Office of Immigrant Relations (OIR) is partnering with the Othering & Belonging Institute (OBI) at the University of California at Berkeley. The project includes gathering information shared by immigrant communities from 12 language groups. To identify current priorities in their communities, OBI will:  

    • Interview local experts, immigrant service providers, and community leaders.  

    • Implement a survey to reach immigrant residents over the next six months.  

    • Hold community conversations with specific immigrant communities to explore key issues further.   

    A countywide immigrant belonging project like this has not been completed in over 20 years. The recommendations from this research may shape the experiences of immigrants in the county for many years to come. 

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