SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The City of San José has been deemed a “Certified Welcoming” place.

San José’s newest achievement was awarded from Welcoming America, a national nonprofit aiming to build a nation of neighbors through welcoming communities.

Since 2019, the Office of Racial Equity has worked to develop San José’s welcoming plan — providing information and resources for immigrant residents in San José.

The Certified Welcoming program assesses city and county governments on their efforts to welcome immigrants in all aspects of civic, social, and economic life. 

San José is the second city in California to achieve the Certified Welcoming status and the thirteenth community in the nation to do so.

“San José takes great pride in our shared immigrant heritage and longstanding history as a community where people from across the globe are celebrated,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. 

“Our immigrant neighbors make enormous economic contributions to our community, enrich our culture, spur our innovation, and reinvigorate our collective passion for freedom.”

To reach its certification, the city completed an intensive evaluation. Local policies and programs were compared to the comprehensive Welcoming Standard that covers community investments from education to economic development and policing.

“It’s my great pleasure to congratulate San José on its achievement of Certified Welcoming status.,” said Welcoming America Executive Director, Rachel Perić.

“As the largest city in our nation’s center of technology and innovation, San José’s designation as Certified Welcoming sends a strong message that our economy and equitable policies must go hand in hand to achieve strong and shared prosperity for all, including immigrants.”

The city’s Office of Racial Equity and community partners spearheaded a multi-year process of creating policies and programs reflecting community values and underscoring the City’s commitment to immigrant inclusion.

According to the city’s most recent welcoming plan, nearly 40% of the city’s population is foreign-born and almost 60% of children in San José have at least one parent who is an immigrant.

In a 2014 report by New American Economy, immigrants in Santa Clara County contributed an estimated $77 billion to the county’s economy.

“While we celebrate the collective achievements of our community in gaining this recognition, we also recognize that it is merely an affirmation that we are on the right track and that there is much more work to be done to ensure that San José is truly a welcoming city in words, deeds, and actions,” said Director of The Office of Racial Equity, Zulma Maciel. 

“We greatly look forward to our continued partnerships with all of you in building an equitable city for the benefit of all.”