From Municipal to Regional Immigrant Integration in a Major-Emerging Gateway

March 15, 2022 - 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Paul N. McDaniel
Associate Professor of Geography
Kennesaw State University

Welcoming America, a nonprofit organization based in metropolitan Atlanta, has grown a membership network throughout the United States. The network consists of nonprofit organizations and over 100 municipal governments that present their communities as “welcoming” for immigrants and refugees—referred to as “Welcoming Cities.” In 2018, Welcoming America launched the “One Region Initiative” to cultivate a concept of “welcoming region” to transcend municipal boundaries. The pilot initiative took place in the Atlanta metropolitan area, a major emerging immigrant gateway, and involved community listening sessions and a 56-member steering committee, representing the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The One Region Initiative disseminated recommendations to the public in a regional strategic welcoming plan in August 2018. In this presentation, as a co-founder of the Georgia Immigration Research Network (GIRN) and One Region steering committee member, McDaniel discusses the work that he and his colleagues carried out from 2018 to 2021 regarding (1) the university-community engaged research partnership process of the One Region Initiative and its steering committee that formed to address challenges and opportunities of immigrant integration and receptivity within the Atlanta metropolitan area, a major-emerging immigrant gateway; and (2) One Region member municipalities’ implementation of the recommendations between 2019 and 2021 amid the broader multiscalar context of changing geographies of immigrant settlement and immigration policy.

Paul N. McDaniel is Associate Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography and Anthropology in the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Kennesaw State University, in metro Atlanta, Georgia. As a co-founder of the Georgia Immigration Research Network, his research focuses on processes of immigrant settlement, adjustment, integration, and receptivity in cities and metropolitan areas, particularly in the southeastern United States.