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Welcoming New Americans?Local Governments and Immigrant Incorporation$
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Abigail Fisher Williamson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226572512

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226572796.001.0001

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Municipal Responses across Four New Immigrant Destinations

Municipal Responses across Four New Immigrant Destinations

(p.29) Chapter Two Municipal Responses across Four New Immigrant Destinations
Welcoming New Americans?

Abigail Fisher Williamson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines how local government responses to immigrants evolved over twenty-five years (1990-2015) in four new immigrant destinations: Lewiston, Maine; Wausau, Wisconsin; Elgin, Illinois; and Yakima, Washington. Drawing on the cases, the chapter introduces a model of local government response, which classifies municipalities in terms of how actively they respond and whether the tenor of response tends toward accommodation or restriction. The case studies identify a trend toward accommodation over time in three of the four cities, as well as revealing the substantive importance of local government inaction in response to immigrants. In the refugee destinations of Lewiston and Wausau, with their Somali and Hmong populations, respectively, we see a progression of responses from providing services, to broader convening around immigrant issues, to incorporating immigrants into local public life. In three out of four cities we see a restrictive response followed by intensified efforts at accommodation.

Keywords:   immigrant, local government, new immigrant destination, Lewiston, Maine, Wausau, Wisconsin, Elgin, Illinois, Yakima, Washington, refugee, Hmong, Somali

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