SAN DIEGO -- A group of city officials announced a blueprint Monday for San Diego's new program to welcome immigrants and help them transition to living in San Diego County.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the bipartisan Welcoming San Diego Strategic Plan on Immigrant and Refugee Integration with City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and other local leaders and officials. City officials created the plan after taking input from hundreds of residents, organizations and businesses on how best to serve the region's immigrant population, estimated at more than 800,000.
The five-year plan includes the creation of an 18-member steering committee of local officials and immigration activists from around the county, as well as an immigration affairs office under the mayor's purview. Faulconer's mid-year budget report includes $70,000 to fund the immigration affairs manager position.
"San Diego has long been a destination for people in search of opportunity, refugees looking to rebuild their lives, and new citizens who are proud to call America home," Faulconer said. "San Diego's economy, workforce and future growth are connected to our ability to welcome new Americans into our community."
According to the city, immigrant entrepreneurs contributed roughly $1.4 billion in business income to the San Diego County economy in 2016. That same year, the county's immigrant households paid an estimated $7.5 billion in federal taxes and $2.1 billion in state and local taxes.
"I'm proud to stand along with many community leaders and organizations of our region to release a blueprint for Welcoming San Diego Strategic Plan on Immigrant & Refugee Integration," Gomez said. "It's important our communities here in San Diego know they don't stand alone. Our policies and actions must reflect a city that is welcoming."
The steering committee and the immigration affairs manager will oversee efforts to increase opportunities for economic and educational success, improve civic engagement and make communities safer for San Diego's immigrant population. On a more granular level, those quality-of-life improvements could include multicultural K-12 curricula and career assistance such as job placement, rights protection and inclusive recruitment, according to the city's suggestions in the plan.