Working with immigrant communities and service providers to promote the full inclusion of immigrant communities in SCC.
Out of 58 counties in California, Santa Clara County is unique when it comes to addressing the needs of residents born in other countries. With one-third of the county population born outside the U.S., Santa Clara County parallels New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles in constituting one of the most diverse populations on earth. Immigrants in SCC have been fortunate to have policy makers that understand the importance of immigrant integration.
Immigrant Relations and Integration Services is a program of the Office of Human Relations of Santa Clara County. IRIS strives to improve the lives of immigrants and all residents of by recognizing and appreciating the contributions of immigrants, educating all county residents about the backgrounds, values, and life conditions of immigrants in Santa Clara County, and fostering multicultural community. By assessing and addressing the specific human needs of immigrants and by maximizing collaboration, IRIS seeks to enhance the potential and enrich the lives of all county residents. IRIS works on projects that promote positive immigrant relations and integration services.
IRIS performs in a multifaceted manner to meet the needs of a diversity of immigrants. Santa Clara County established a unique Citizenship Initiative in 1996 with the twin goals of empowering low-income permanent residents and re-establishing eligibility for the safety net of services that was affected by welfare reform. In the past 10 years, collaborating community-based organization have assisted over 100,000 immigrants with their citizenship process. Recognizing the many acute needs of immigrants, the County held a Summit on Immigrant Needs and Contributions in December 2000. As a result of this research and recommendations developed in this process, SCC invested in programs that promote the integration of immigrant communities in SCC.
IRIS current programs and projects include the following: