New Americans Initiative

Our country has long been a beacon of hope and opportunity for people from around the world. In the past decade, the United States has welcomed, on average, approximately 1 million lawful permanent residents and more than 700,000 newly naturalized citizens each year. Today, 41.3 million foreign-born residents live in the U.S. and are contributing to the vitality of our country and their communities. This includes the over 3 million refugees who have resettled here since 1975 from countries that span the globe. These immigrants and refugees are adding much to our country’s social and cultural fabric, and are also critical to our country’s continued economic prosperity.

Call to Action

On Nov. 21, 2014, President Obama established the White House Task Force on New Americans — a government-wide effort tasked with better integrating immigrants and refugees into American communities in three key areas: civically, economically, and linguistically. The Task Force identified goals and recommended actions, which showcase the critical role that all of us across human services can play: Strengthening Communities by Welcoming All ResidentsA federal strategic action plan on immigrant and refugee integration.

ACF & New Americans

ACF's Strategic Plan fully supports efforts to advance immigrant and refugee integration—

Supporting underserved and underrepresented populations—e.g., foreign-born, newly arriving populations such as refugees, asylees and other immigrants, including those with limited English proficiency (LEP)—is a shared responsibility that is cross-cutting, involves linkages and partnerships across ACF offices, and informs all of ACF’s work.

ACF has a wide range of programs and services that support both receiving communities as well as new Americans and their families.  

ACF is working with federal, regional, state, and trusted local partners to help integrate new Americans into communities throughout the United States. Below, please find some key ACF programs and resources targeting refugees and other new Americans:

  • Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)— serves as a bridge to help with the initial transition of refugees and other resettlement-eligible populations through targeted funding and programs. ORR provides time-limited resettlement benefits and services for newly arriving refugees as well as the following populations: Asylees; Cuban-Haitian Entrants; Certified (foreign) Victims of Human Trafficking; Certain Amerasians from Vietnam; and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders from Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Multicultural Principles for Head Start Programs Serving Children Ages Birth to Five — ACF's early learning programs are most effective when their systems and services support the cultural diversity of enrolled families. ACF provides guidance to staff to make sure they can demonstrate their respect for and respond to the different cultures in their community and among their co-workers.


Point of Contact

To learn more about the work of ACF and New Americans, please contact Laura Irizarry via email:


Last Reviewed: September 29, 2015
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