Are today’s immigrants to the United States still able to find a warm welcome? Despite a charged public debate around immigration, it seems that the answer is still “yes.”
According to a customer survey from Remitly, the online international money transfer service, immigrants to the United States continue to find welcoming communities through three pillars of traditional American society: family, the workplace, and places of worship.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” said Matt Oppenheimer, CEO and co-founder of Remitly. “At a time when public discourse and current events might raise questions about America’s openness to immigrants, it was reassuring to see that our customers continue to find community through the same institutions which have formed the bedrock of our nation since its founding.”
Remitly surveyed 1,000 immigrants that have moved from overseas to live in the United States or United Kingdom. Responses from the United States showed that:
- Family comes first. One-half (50%) of respondents were made to feel most welcome by an immediate family member already living in the US, by far the most common answer.
- Work and worship hold equal sway. At 19%, immigrants rated faith-based organizations equally with work organization for welcoming them. Among immigrant groups, Mexican (21%) and Filipino immigrants (23%) were slightly more likely to feel welcomed by faith-based organizations, whereas Dominican (26%) and Indian (37%) immigrants rated work-based organizations higher.
- School still rules. One-third (33%) of Colombian immigrants noted that they felt welcomed to the United States by their school or university.
And who fell short? According to the results of Remitly’s survey, the days of the friendly neighbor may be in the past – only 2% of respondents said that neighbors provided the first, or warmest welcome.
Online communities such as Facebook groups and forums also ranked poorly (4%), reinforcing the lasting power of traditional community-building organizations. Community leaders came at the bottom of the list (0%), suggesting that local politicians and others could do much more to welcome new arrivals.
“Arriving in a new country can be as difficult as leaving family, friends, and co-workers behind,” added Oppenheimer. “It has been heartening to see from our customers’ responses how many ways they have found to build a new community, and how many helping hands they have found along the way.”