RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Thursday that June will be known as Immigrant Heritage Month in the Commonwealth in order to celebrate the history, cultures and contributions of Virginia’s immigrant communities.
“We are a nation of immigrants, and our communities are strong because of hard-working individuals striving to create a better life for themselves and their children,” said Gov. Northam in a video message. “During Immigrant Heritage Month, we celebrate the countless ways that immigrants enrich our Commonwealth and our country, as well as our shared future.”
According to the same video, one in eight residents in Virginia is an immigrant.
This announcement follows the work that occurred during the 2020 General Assembly session that established the Office of New Americans Advisory Board. The Board will work to advise the Governor, their cabinet and General Assembly on ways to support Immigrants in Virginia.
“We are working to ensure that state government policies and practices foster support for new Americans who face institutional barriers to meaningful integration,” said Mona Siddiqui, Deputy Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of New Americans. “The Governor’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion serves as a liaison between the Governor, Office of New Americans, and the Office of New Americans Advisory Board to improve equitable opportunities and foster a sense of belonging to all those who have made their home in Virginia.”
Gov. Northam also previously urged President Biden to include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented essential workers in the next federal relief package. The Governor’s office said this pathway will grant legal status to an estimated 140,000 people in Virginia.