DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas is the first city in Texas to earn the Certified Welcoming status in recognition of inclusiveness and integration of immigrants, the city announced Tuesday.

“Cities are the economic engines of Texas, and I am proud we have passed the selection criteria to be recognized as a welcoming certified city,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “Dallas has a global economy and a vibrant culture highlighted by our diverse communities. We absolutely will leverage these assets to further grow our economy and advance inclusion in our City.”

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson (CBS 11)

Welcoming America, a nonpartisan, national nonprofit organization, evaluated local efforts to establish an inclusive community through government leadership, civic engagement, equitable access, education, economic development and connected and safe communities.

downtown Dallas (Vince Bosquez – CBS11)

“The Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs was established to ensure we as a City are accessible, responsive and equitable to the needs of immigrant populations in Dallas,” said Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax. “This certification acknowledges the work we have done to become a model city for being inclusive and promoting the engagement of immigrants and refugees.”

“Welcoming America congratulates Dallas as the first Texas city to become Certified Welcoming, recognizing the community’s outstanding efforts to create an inclusive community for everyone, including immigrants and refugees,” said Welcoming America Executive Director, Rachel Peric. “Dallas exemplifies the kind of leadership our country is looking for at a time when Americans are eager for solutions that advance economic vitality and ensure all Americans belong and thrive.”

Dallas’ Office of Welcoming Communities and Welcoming Affairs was established in March 2017 to promote the successful inclusion of immigrants into the social and economic fabric of the Dallas community, the city said in a news release.

“The welcoming plan unanimously adopted by the City Council in 2018 includes seeking welcoming certification as a way to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of efforts to break down barriers, increase access, and leverage key contributions made by immigrants,” said Chief of Equity and Inclusion Liz Cedillo-Pereira. “We are grateful to our community for being such a significant part of this work.”

The office seeks to bridge the space between newcomers and existing Dallas residents, to find common ground, to foster informed understanding and to promote shared leadership. ​​​​​