Strengthening New American Voices & Organizations, Winter 2018 Update from NPNA

Strengthening New American Voices & Organizations

NPNA Winter 2018 Update

NPNA and our member organizations have been busy in 2018 continuing the work to protect immigrant and refugee communities from the divisive and hateful and policies and rhetoric gripping the nation. After 2017, a year of resistance and organizing against anti-immigrant powers, we are driving forward, equipped with proactive strategies and the incredible courage and resilience of immigrant leaders. We’ve kicked off the year ready to build power in our communities, increase capacity of immigrant and refugee coalitions, and strengthen new American voices to fight back and win.
Read our Winter Update below to learn about our work to empower and protect refugee communities through the We Are All America Campaign, the urgent push to support DACA and TPS recipients, efforts to ‘Tear Down the Second Wall’ of naturalization backlogs, our Women Empowered to Lead (WE Lead) and Laredo Detention Center Legal Support Programs, and the powerful 2017 National Immigrant Integration Conference in Phoenix, AZ this past December.

Thousands Take Action through the We Are All America Campaign

The week of January 27 to February 3, 2018 saw a powerful series of actions across the country in support of refugees, asylum seekers, TPS recipients, Muslims and immigrants during the We Are All America National Week of Action which officially launched the We Are All America national campaign. From refugee resettlement partners, immigrant rights organizations, faith communities, Muslim, Arab, South Asian (MASA) organizing groups we witnessed 82 events (70 public and 12 private) unfold in 25 states plus Washington, DC. NPNA member organizations led or collaborated with refugee/Muslim groups to produce 12 events. In spaces as small as a church basement to as large as an airport, advocates held public forums, rallies, press conferences, created welcome kits for refugee families, prayed together at interfaith vigils, lobbied their state representatives during advocacy days, broke bread at intercultural social gatherings, raised funds for refugees at concerts, and told their own stories of survival. These powerful actions were sponsored by well over 200 different organizations.

NPNA members leading actions include Arkansas United Community Coalition, Causa Oregon, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, New York Immigration Coalition, OneAmerica, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

Steering Committee members include Alianza Americas, America’s Voice, Church World Service, Human Rights First, International Rescue Committee, Islamic Relief, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, National Partnership for New Americans, Refugee Council USA, and Welcoming America.

 URGENT: National DACA Renewals and

TPS Re-Registration Field Webinar

 The cruel terminations of DACA and TPS in the last six months are impacting the lives of millions. While the push for permanent legislative solutions for both DACA and TPS continues, NPNA organizations and our partners are supporting communities to process DACA Renewal and TPS Re-registration applications via community-basedimmigration legal workshops as deadlines fast approach — March 19th, 2018 for TPS recipients from El Salvador and Haiti and an uncertain deadline for DACA renewals, following the Supreme Court’s refusal to bypass the appeals court and hear the case on DACA this term.

 Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 27th at 4:00pm Eastern, NPNA will hold an Urgent National Field Webinar with partners United We Dream, NPNA members the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) and the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, Alianza Americas, United Farm Workers Foundation, and the City of San Francisco encouraging organizations and institutions to support DACA and TPS recipients now.

 REGISTER HERE to join this critical webinar and hear from groups across the country about the current policy and organizing updates for DACA and TPS, learn how institutions across sectors are providing community-based legal services for DACA and TPS recipients, discuss tools and resources available, and find out ways to get involved in the fight and support our neighbors.

Nearly Two Million Naturalization Applications – and 734,000 Applicants Stuck Waiting Behind the “Second Wall”

 In 2018, NPNA and our members continue to support lawful permanent residents to empower and protect themselves through naturalization. Due to the ugly rhetoric and increased immigration enforcement of the current administration, and the support of community based organizations, labor unions, municipal governments and efforts like the Naturalize NOW CampaignCities for Citizenship (C4C), and New Americans Campaign,record numbers of lawful permanent residents are applying for U.S. citizenship. In the past year, 15 new cities joined C4C, expanding the network to 42 municipal partners committed to launching, promoting and expanding this naturalization initiative. This year, C4C welcomes the newest cities, Phoenix, AZ, High Point, NC, and Princeton, NJ!

 As a result of all of this work and the current challenging environment, a record 1,957,384 immigrants in the U.S. have applied to naturalize and become U.S. citizens in the past two years alone. However, in the same period, as NPNA shows in our Updated Report, the backlog of lawful permanent residents waiting for their citizenship applications to be processed increased from 367,009 to 734,209, a shocking 100.05% increase in the number of pending applications in two years. The exploding citizenship backlogs of the Trump administration have become a “Second Wall” that prevents lawful permanent residents from becoming voting U.S. citizens. NPNA, our members, and our partners remain committed in 2018 to tearing down this bureaucratic wall and supporting immigrant communities to naturalize now.

Read the Updated Report here to find out how the backlogs are impacting your state.

 Women Empowered to Lead & Inform Their Communities

 In 2017, NPNA and Jones Day partnered to launch the innovative and transformational Women Empowered to Lead program (WE Leadprogram in the 7 cities of New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles with Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Global Cleveland, Michigan United, New York Immigration Coalition, Pennsylvania Immigrant and Citizenship Coalition, Texas Organizing Project, and the Resurrection Project. 

 The WE Lead program is a women’s empowerment training and workforce development initiative that trains immigrant women to provide community based immigration legal services in their communities, create new professional opportunities for immigrant women in the legal field, develop leadership skills, and build trusted community cohorts. The WE Lead program expands and deepens the Community Navigator training model, which has trained over 10,000 Community Navigators across the NPNA network.

 Read the story of WE Lead Navigator, Nara, here:

“As a WE Lead Navigator, I see myself in each client I serve because I know firsthand what it is like to live in this country in the shadows and under constant fear. I navigate my community with the resources needed to further educate those affected as well as those who lack knowledge about the undocumented American experience…read more here

 NPNA Members Support Immigrant Families in Detention in Laredo, TX

In 2017, NPNA’s WE Lead partnership with Jones Day built a bridge to the law firm’s broad engagement with immigrant communities. As part of its pro bono work, Jones Day law firm has made an ongoing commitment to provide legal defense and support to immigrants detained in the Laredo, TX detention center and provide legal representation if/when immigrants are released. Each week, NPNA coordinates volunteers from our member organizations to go to Laredo and support attorneys as interpreters.

Since the inception of the Laredo Program in August 2017, NPNA has recruited 22 volunteers, dedicating over 1,100 hours to support immigrant women unjustly locked in detention and separated from their families. 

Volunteers from member organizations like  Promise Arizona (AZ), Causa (OR), OneAmerica (WA), Nebraska Appleseed (NE), Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CO), The Resurrection Project (IL) and Voces de la Frontera (WI) have participated in this project that gives immigrants an opportunity to much needed legal representation in a border town. In 2018, NPNA and Jones Day will continue to work together to serve immigrant communities and support volunteers who participate in the program to bring this experience to their home, apply for DOJ accreditation, and expand legal service capacity in their home states.

 One Laredo Volunteer’s reflection on their experience:

“I feel honored and grateful for the time that I was able to spend on this project lead by Jones Day. I am so thankful for the partnership NPNA is leading with Jones Day so DOJ Representatives – like myself – and other staff from immigrant led organizations can learn about the realities of what some asylum applicants experience and what it means to be held at a detention center.” 

 Powerful National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC) in December 2017

 Over 1,100 people gathered December 10-12 in Phoenix, Arizona for AND JUSTICE FOR ALL: National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC). NIIC 2017, the 10th annual NIIC conference, was the largest yet by many measures. The conference was shaped by our broadest Executive Committee and most diverse Steering Committee, and our Program Planning teams were also the largest in our history, with 74 leaders from 52 organizations serving as Issue Area Track Co-Leads. Together they built the most robust array of Issue Area Tracks that NIIC has ever featured — 14 Tracks in total, comprised of 43 workshop sessions open to all participants. Overall, 178 groups that brought their expertise to our Track and Special Sessions, the most in NIIC’s history.

 NIIC’s 6 mainstage plenary sessions featured numerous prominent speakers from across the movement, including: Judith Browne Dianis (Advancement Project), Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Maria Hinojosa (National Public Radio), Dolores Huerta (United Farm Workers), Deepa Iyer (Center for Social Inclusion), Cristina Jimenez (United We Dream), Robert Moses (The Algebra Project), Guy Reiter (Native Organizers Alliance), D. Taylor (UNITE HERE), and Eric Ward (Western States Center). The conference also included 7 special sessions ranging from immigrant integration research and academia to screening and legal services to candidate training; 2 film screenings; 5 participant-organized affinity group sessions; and 6 moving performances featuring indigenous and immigrant artists from across the country.