Immigrant heritage month: A call to action for the public and private sectors

June is Immigrant Heritage Month in the United States. It’s a celebration of the contribution immigrants provide to our shared future, and a reminder that many continue to experience barriers and challenges – in financial services and elsewhere.

Remitly was founded on a belief that the financial system was fundamentally stacked against immigrants – so we’ve focused our efforts on creating a better, faster, cheaper and more transparent international money transfer platform. We’re proud of the work we’ve done to help each dollar sent internationally go further, faster – and we’re excited to continue our work to address the overall financial health of immigrants around the world.

But there is so much more work to be done. The success of today’s immigrants who come to America seeking a better quality of life and prosperity depends on their ability to access high quality, fair, and simple financial services and products. Our shared future requires the imagination and collaboration of innovators from across the private and public sector.

So, in honor of Immigrant Heritage Month, we’re issuing this reminder to our peers across the

public and private sectors who seek to lead the nation in creating solutions that help immigrants capitalize on the energy they bring to local communities and achieve the dream of building better lives for themselves and their family:

  1. Recognize that important issues for immigrants are broader than immigration policy. While immigration policy remains a pressing human right and moral issue, immigrants already in the U.S. are often focused on more prosaic, everyday concerns. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, immigrants create about a quarter of new businesses in the United States. So the issues that matter to this segment of American society mirror the issues of importance to broader American society – access to credit and loans, healthcare, insurance, and a stable and secure economy that supports small business around the country.

  2. Focus on family – here in the U.S., and abroad. Most immigrants come to America to build a better life for their families – the family they build in the U.S. and the family they continue to support in the country they’re from. This means that investing for our future through strong primary and secondary education is a major issue for immigrants – and one where the private and public sector can work together to improve our education system through a combination of public sector focus on strong schools, coupled with private sector initiatives that invest in critical areas such as STEM education. At the same time, the private and public sector can drive benefits for families in immigrants’ home countries through a combination of robust foreign aid – which supports critical health, education and social programs in developing countries – along with policies that support the ability of private citizens to support their families abroad through remittances.

  3. Partner for competitiveness. The public and private sectors have a shared responsibility – and vested interest – in supporting the skills and training of immigrants. We need more partnerships that engage immigrant workers with employer-led programs that focus on skills training, financial literacy, health/wellness, and other key areas. Investing in this community will deliver dividends to the companies that employ them and the communities that house them.

  4. Remember that the vision for our shared future can be found in our past. America is a country built on the energy, vision, and diversity of our immigrant past. Our nation is both bigger than our differences and at the same time made stronger by them. We would do well to focus on the shared values that bind us as Americans to forge a better future together.

There is a lot of work to do, and at Remitly, we’re excited to continue our work to partner with our peers at other companies innovating for immigrants as well as local, state and the federal government to pursue policies that improve the lives of all immigrants and their families.

I hope you will all join us in the work ahead.