Boise Mayor David Bieter today announced that the City of Boise has been certified as a Welcoming City by Welcoming America, a national non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides guidance and support to help communities become more inclusive toward immigrants and all residents. Boise is only the third municipality in the country to receive the designation.
“This designation reflects our long-standing work to help immigrants and refugees to become true members of our community and welcomed neighbors,” said Mayor Bieter. “Boise has been a place of refuge and opportunity for refugees and immigrants since its founding and there is no question we are richer as a community as a result. We will continue to strive to remain a leader on this issue and keep Boise a welcoming city for all.”
Led by the Office of the Mayor and supported by community partners, the City of Boise completed an intensive evaluation to earn the designation. Local policies and programs were compared to Welcoming America’s comprehensive Welcoming Standard, which addresses a range of policies and programs, from education and language access to community safety, and provides a comprehensive roadmap for immigrant and refugee inclusion.
"Boise has long been a leader in effectively welcoming immigrants and knitting them into the fabric of the community and economy,” said Isha Lee, deputy director of Welcoming America. “Achieving Certified Welcoming designation shares their accomplishments with the world and elevates the city to its rightful place, as a model for coming to understand, embrace and fully leverage demographic change."
Partnerships, collaboration, and community involvement with organizations like Neighbors United and the Idaho Office of Refugees are specifically highlighted by Welcoming America in their evaluation. The Boise Police Department’s Refugee Liaison Officer position was also recognized as a best practice that has helped advance safe and connected communities.
“Like the wind in our city’s sails, refugees, and other immigrants bring energy, ideas, and skills to Boise that helps us move ahead faster,” Tara Wolfson, director at the Idaho Office for Refugees shares her appreciation of this national recognition. “Boiseans can attest that building refugees’ well-being also builds our own.”
Welcoming America launched the Certified Welcoming program in April 2017 to establish a formal designation for cities and counties that have taken action on their commitment to welcoming and met the high bar set by the Welcoming Standard.