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HF Doubled Down on its Immigrant Advocacy

Few issues in 2017 were as hotly debated, and more deeply misunderstood, as was the issue of immigration. While the debates about immigration and immigrants raged, Hispanic Federation was at the center of the fight. But it wasn't just about policy discussions and legislative fights for HF.

Tune to any news channel during President Trump's first year in office, and you could see how central the issue of immigration was to the national political conversation in 2017. For the most part, that wasn't a good thing. Not only did this year feature vitriolic and duplicitous arguments about immigrants, but also a virulent strain of nativism seemed to reappear in the United States. In response, Hispanic Federation redoubled its local and national efforts to promote immigrant integration.

"We heard it all in 2017 when it came to immigrants and immigration," said Hispanic Federation's Director of Immigration Fryda Guedes. "A big part of the problem was that national political leaders and candidates were advancing deeply troubling narratives about immigrants that scuttled any chance for advancing just immigration reform in our nation's capital."

We knew we needed to make a difference and so we doubled down on our immigrant advocacy and integration work in 2017. Here are some of the ways we made a difference.

HF led rapid response efforts opposing the Muslim travel ban, the pardoning of Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio, the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act and the revocation of DACA. We also elevated the importance of key immigration reform legislation such as the Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615), and the Hope Act of 2017 (H.R. 3591). At every turn over the course of the last twelve months, we organized, educated, advocated, and spoke out in favor of immigrants. In doing so, we strongly supported our allies, and resolutely opposed those who would do us harm.

However, Hispanic Federation's work on behalf of immigrants in 2017 went well beyond advocacy. Our immigrant initiatives directly served and helped tens of thousands of families. When the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this year that it would increase its detention and deportation operations, we responded by educating immigrants about their rights. Our Know Your Rights Public Education campaign provided critical information on immigration to more than 17 million Univision and Telemundo viewers. In doing so, we were able to provide tens of thousands of people with immigration counseling and services.

What's more, working in partnership with Lin-Manuel Miranda and his father Luis Miranda (HF's Founding President), Hispanic Federation launched the groundbreaking Immigrants: We Get the Job Done Coalition. The coalition consisted of twelve multiethnic, multiracial immigrant rights organizations working on the ground across the United States. With Hispanic Federation acting as the fiscal conduit and lead organizer, we worked together to raise awareness of this essential work, as well as raise vital funds to support a collective, national push to protect and uplift immigrant communities nationwide.

We also launched a multimedia campaign called "Face of Dreamers" which continues to highlight the very human stories behind the Dream Act. As Congress stalled on creating a permanent solution to the status of these young people, we wanted our representatives to see that the Dreamers were not only contributing members of their communities and economies, but also future leaders in business and education in America.

Against the background of exclusion and ignorance, we have done what was needed: act boldly in defense and support of our community. We are proud of all that we have accomplished together this year and stand ready to expand on this work in 2018.