After a momentous weekend, our staff returned to work—either virtually or in person—yesterday. Here’s what their Monday looked like:
- In Boston, a member of the Employment team helped an immigrant client file an application for unemployment. They had been working at a nearby hotel for a number of years before being furloughed and eventually let go due to the pandemic.
- In Lowell, a member of the Education and Skills Training team made an internal emergency request for rent support. An asylee client was too sick to work after contracting COVID-19 while on the job as an essential worker.
- In Manchester, a member of the Community Services team enrolled a refugee family in our mobile food pantry, which makes contactless drop-offs to clients’ homes. Getting to the grocery store would normally involve a bus ride, an added worry for parents concerned about the second coronavirus surge.
In short, it looked much like last Monday, before the country voted in perhaps the most consequential election in modern American history.
We congratulate Joe Biden on his election as the 46th President of the United States. We also celebrate the election of Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants, to the second highest political office in our country. She will be the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to become Vice President. We look forward to working with a new presidential administration that has pledged to reaffirm the United States as “a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.”
Over the last several years, we have had a front row seat to how both public opinion and policy have been wielded against refugees and immigrants—how legal avenues for immigration and humanitarian asylum have been systematically dismantled, how access to critical services and support has been categorically cut off, how families, businesses, and entire communities have been destabilized and uprooted.
While an imminent shift to a more inclusive policy environment will be hugely impactful for our work and for the communities we serve, rebuilding the impacted processes, systems, and institutions—not to mention trust in them—is a longer-term project, one that is just as important.
Whether last Monday or next, the International Institute of New England has and will continue to work towards a society in which immigrants are welcomed and valued by everyone. With the potential for expanded pandemic relief, we will continue to advocate for resources that match the heightened levels of need among the people we serve. With renewed hope for refugee resettlement, family reunification, and sensible immigration policies, we will continue to provide up-to-date guidance and expertise, along with the critical, on-the-ground work we’ve delivered for over 100 years.
Our work, in short, is far from over. As we look to the future with hope and prepare to serve even more women, men, and children in the days and months ahead, we need you to continue to support our work and the broader, national effort to rebuild the systems that welcome and embrace new Americans.
President and CEO
International Institute of New England