Chula Vista First in California to be Designated Certified Welcoming
City recognized for commitment to immigrant inclusion
Today, the City of Chula Vista announced it has achieved the status of Certified Welcoming with the ceremonial raising of a new Welcoming City flag at City Hall. The Certified Welcoming designation is granted by the group Welcoming America to local governments that meet the rigorous Welcoming Standard requirements for immigrant inclusion. Chula Vista is the first municipality in California to receive this designation.
“I am so proud of our staff, community leaders, and partner agencies for contributing to efforts that support and celebrate our immigrant communities,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “It is an honor to be the first in California to be designated a Certified Welcoming City.”
According to research published by New American Economy (NAE), Chula Vista ranked as second on their NAE Cities Index. This indicates the city’s dedication to socioeconomic equality and to crafting more inclusive policies. By 2017 more than 13 percent of immigrants in the City of Chula Vista were entrepreneurs and 22.6 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
"As a border community, Chula Vista's commitment to creating an inclusive environment is a model for other pragmatic leaders who want their communities to engage in the global economy and ensure that residents of all backgrounds - including immigrants - can thrive and belong, ” said Rachel Peric, Executive Director of Welcoming America. “Achieving Certified
Welcoming designation shares their accomplishments with the world and elevates the city as a model for cities and counties across the country."
Immigrants make significant contributions to local economies and neighborhoods across the United States, and today immigrant-owned businesses employ nearly six million workers nationally. Immigrant-owned businesses also play an outsized role in revitalizing neighborhoods through entrepreneurship, reversing population decline and homeownership.
A growing number of places recognize that being welcoming leads to prosperity. Currently, one in seven Americans live in a welcoming community and those communities that become Certified Welcoming are leading the movement by demonstrating their commitment to equity and inclusion through policy and programmatic activities. Certified Welcoming communities gain a competitive advantage by using their designation for attracting and retaining a global workforce and businesses whose values align with welcoming and inclusion.
The City of Chula Vista completed an intensive evaluation to earn the Certified Welcoming designation, led by the Human Relations Commission. Local policies and programs were compared to the comprehensive Welcoming Standard that covers community investments from education to economic development to policing.
“The Human Relations Commission is committed to this important effort to demonstrate how the City of Chula Vista welcomes immigrants and refugees in our community,” said Chula Vista Human Relations Commission Chair Paola Martinez-Montes. “We are thrilled to be named California’s first Certified Welcoming City.”
The Certified Welcoming designation is for three years. Progress reports and updates will be overseen by the Human Relations Commission.