Fighting for Immigrant Families
These are difficult times for immigrants in America. Suffice it to say the rhetoric and policies coming out of the White House have made it clear that America is no longer a nation that welcomes immigrants. Yet, while the White House and extremists in Congress rail against immigrants, Hispanic Federation and its allies spent much of 2018 fighting to help immigrants.
When the Trump Administration announced its “zero tolerance” policy aimed at families crossing our Southern Border, it was designed to frighten immigrants from attempting to reach the United States and request asylum. The new policy was not only poorly designed and implemented; it was especially cruel because it separated children from their families after detention. Hispanic Federation not only led national efforts to call attention to this injustice but also created the Latino Immigrant Families Together Fund (LIFT) program to offer legal aid to families separated from their loved ones. In 2018, the organization invested more than $100,000 in the LIFT program to make sure that immigrant families could avail themselves of the legal protections that we offer immigrants.
But our work on immigration went beyond addressing the White House-manufactured crisis at the border. The truth is that the Trump Administration has also proposed a number of challenges to the residency of immigrants already in the country under programs such as Temporary Protected Status and, perhaps most notable, the DACA program. What’s more, there are millions of immigrants in this country who are legal permanent residents who have not pursued naturalization. In 2018, Hispanic Federation provided 26,300 immigrants with citizenship assistance, ESL and civics classes, and legal counsel. In addition, in response to the frightening increase in enforcement actions by ICE in our communities we held dozens of Know-Your-Rights Training sessions to make sure that immigrants understand their legal protections.
If last year is any guide, the White House will likely continue to demonize and criminalize immigrants. Hispanic Federation will continue to oppose these efforts and work with its network of Latino nonprofits and allied groups across the country to promote an immigration system that is fair and just.