Nashville Chamber of Commerce Brought Office of Refugee Resettlement’s ‘Building the New American Community’ to Music City Back in 2001

Tennessee Star


With the Nashville Chamber of Commerce in a leading role, Nashville was one of three “non-traditional gateway cities” along with Portland (OR) and Lowell (MA) chosen for the 2001 pilot project funded by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) called “Building the New American Community, A Collaborative Project on Integration (BNAC).”  These three sites were determined to be in the “beginning phases of a demographic transformation” due to increases in refugee resettlement and the arrival of legal and illegal immigrants.

As explained in the project’s final report authored by the Soros funded Migration Policy Institute (MPI):

Nashville exemplifies characteristics typically associated with new immigrant gateway cities in the United States: strong economic growth coupled with rapid foreign-born population increases from a very tiny base of refugees and immigrants who resided in the city in 1990.

Core principles of the pilot project included building coalitions, refugee and immigrant leadership, and civic engagement, including:

learning about the American electoral system and the importance of voting, but also participating as partners with public agencies in the coalitions. In practical terms, refugee and immigrant organizations played a direct role in crafting policies and programs that directly influence their communities as well as the receiving community.

Collaborators in the BNAC pilot included the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Southeast Asia Resource Center, and the Soros funded Migration Policy Institute, National Immigration Forum, and the Urban Institute.

The ORR grant money, available only to organizations serving refugees, was intended to support integration of new Americans through systemic change using whatever strategies were defined in each location. Lavinia Limon, ORR’s Director at the time, “believed in the need to support newcomer integration at the local level and to build the capacity of refugee organizations” and was considered a driving force behind the pilot project.

After leaving ORR, Limon worked briefly at the Center for New American Communities, a project of the Soros funded National Immigration Forum until she was named executive director of U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, a position she still holds.

The coalitions required to be formed in each pilot site excluded illegal immigrants. However, the final report noted that “their presence and the needs of their families realistically cannot be set apart from an effort to achieve cohesive communities.”

Even though the grant encouraged faith-based organizations to be included in the coalition, Nashville’s African-American community was kept at arm’s length by the New American Coalition despite having experienced many of the same concerns such as employment training, housing and quality of schools, as the refugee/immigrant coalition members.

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce was recognized for taking a leading role in the city’s demonstration program:

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with 16 organizations representing refugee/immigrant and receiving community organizations, sponsored the Nashville New American Coalition. The founding partners from the refugee/immigrant community were Iraqi House, Kurdish Human Rights Watch, Somali Community Center, International Lao-American Organization, Encuentro Latino, Catholic Charities, and the League of United Latin American Citizens. From the receiving community, the founding organizations included the Metro Nashville Schools Adult ESL, Metro Social Services/Refugee Services, the Nashville Task Force on Refugees and Immigrants, Opry Mills, Tennessee Department of Human Resources/Refugee Programs, Tennessee State University, United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, and Woodbine Community Organization.

On page 34 of the final report, the Nashville New American Coalition was recognized for arranging trainings “designed to prepare refugees and immigrants to serve on non-profit and/or government governing bodies (e.g., boards and commissions)…The trainings also encouraged participants to play an active role in ensuring that government agencies and non-profit organizations serve newcomer communities in culturally- and linguistically-appropriate ways.”

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce was credited with emphasizing workforce development and outreach to employers as a central feature of the Nashville Coalition’s community action plan.” The final report highlighted two Coalition projects; foreign credential recognition and production of a brochure titled How Employers Can Expand and Diversify Their Workforce. The brochure subsequently matured into the Guidebook for Employers of International Workers, providing employers  information about “employment documentation requirements, the contributions of refugees/immigrants to the workforce, communication suggestions, and cultural issues” such as a sample Islamic prayer schedule and instruction in how to provide “appropriate religious accommodations.”

Today the Nashville Chamber collaborates with the Partnership for a New American Economy using the basic premise that immigrants will do the work Americans won’t and that the work ethic and perceived business ambitions of legal and illegal immigrants are necessary to grow the economy and create jobs for Americans.

This weekend the Nashville Chamber will be hosting the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) annual convention.






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6 Thoughts to “Nashville Chamber of Commerce Brought Office of Refugee Resettlement’s ‘Building the New American Community’ to Music City Back in 2001”

  1. Bob

    Follow the money. Mark my word there may be millions involved here.

  2. Dave Vance

    And for all you Bill Lee fans just know he is a supporter of the chamber! A bronze donor in fact! While he hasn’t doled out as much to the chamber as la Raza Randy did to La Raza he is still a chamber minion!

  3. Wolf Woman

    Everywhere you look these days, George $oro$, with his One World oligarchic ambitions, turns up with his web of non-profits that reach around the world.

    This includes Hungary where he has a globalist dog in the fight with the country’s anti-communist/socialist government that refuses to take thousands of illegal migrants invited to Europe by Germany’s latest fuhrer, Angela Merkel. And now we see how $oro$ tentacles reach deeply into our lives in Music City.

    So we have the “globalist” Chamber of Commerce in bed with the neo-Marxist Mayor Moonbeam and her new army of bureaucrats, like the new metro Resilience Office.

    And Mayor Moonbeam and the C of C works hand-in-glove with her compadres from the refugee, illegal alien groups and the bastions of the New Leftist social justice academia, Vanderbilt, Belmont and Lipscomb.

    These are our elitist uber-lords, hell-bent and determined to make a city “welcoming” a cesspool of crime, disease and bigoted racial identity politics where they make big money and we little people get to pay for the problems.

  4. Sim

    Why should Americans “Work”, the government wants to “GIVE” them everything they need, “FREE”. Housing, Food, Medicare, College Education???

    Davey Crockett asked Congress where did the Constitution authorize them to pass a bill to help the widow of a patriot in distress, none could find that authorization in the Constitution,

    So member of Congress dug into their own pockets to help her.

    “WELFARE” is a violation of the law in a “Capitalist system”, if government focused more on creating a strong economy with jobs, instead of a welfare state, we wouldn’t have, or need, such a financial burden on Government.
    Here again we see Government working backwards, “Supply and Demand” has always fueled the growth, the supply of Jobs demands more workers.

    But with all these immigrants, the supply of workers is greater than the demand of Jobs,
    Pitting more American workers against non citizens for those jobs.

    P.S. Russian doesn’t have a “Damn thing” to do with the way I vote, in the past or in the future, but the ignorance and stupidity described above “DOES”.

  5. Jim Forsythe

    Idiots!!! We do not need more potential terrorists in this country.

  6. Bob

    The Nashville Chamber of Commerce like many other sister organization across the country no longer represents the best interests of America. Their quest of the almighty dollar has blinded them.