Immigrants are remaking America. In many urban and rural areas, the arrival of immigrants from Latin America has transformed whole communities. Much like new Americans of yesteryear, our modern-day crop of immigrants have contributed greatly to our nation’s economy, culture and overall well-being. Yet this transformation has been difficult. Anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation in the United States has surged tremendously over the past decade. And the failure of Congress to enact meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform has clouded the future of immigrant families, forcing them to live apart, or fearful of deportation.
Hispanic Federation has worked relentlessly to protect and advance immigrant rights since its inception. Our early efforts focused on local advocacy and collaborations with member agencies to develop citizenship campaigns, civics and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Today, Hispanic Federation has expanded its focus to become a national provider of immigrant integration and other direct services and a national advocate for progressive immigration reforms.
Our work serves the community through:
Adult Basic Education (ABE)
Learning to speak English is often a major obstacle to immigrant integration. Unfortunately, for many immigrants, access to English-language classes and adult education opportunities is limited. The Adult Basic Literacy and Education program helps Hispanic Federation member agencies expand or launch Adult Basic Education (ABE), English of Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and/or GED programs. Member agencies funded through this initiative are located in New York City, Long Island and Upstate New York.
Announced by President Obama in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, provides qualifying immigrants - also known as "DREAMers" - protection from deportation and work permits for at least two years. Yet the fee for DACA, which is nearly $500 dollars, prevents many of our DREAMers from applying for these benefits. And that’s where the Hispanic Federation comes in. Over the past three years, HF has been working with its network of immigrant service providers to identify and help offer deserving DREAMers with scholarships to cover the DACA application fee. To date, hundreds of our undocumented youth have received HF’s DACA scholarships. And we’re committed to help uplift many more DREAMers through this program.
Due to limited funding available, HF is only able to support youth identified as eligible by its network of immigrant service providers.
To learn more about DACA eligibility, click here.
Para aprender más sobre su elegibilidad de DACA, haga clic aquí.
New York State Community Empowerment Initiative
Legal services can become a costly process. Not only is the filing fee associated with each application expensive but add on legal fees and the bill quickly adds up. For many immigrants this is a major obstacle to taking the next steps to naturalize or even renew their green card. For this very reason the Hispanic Federation wants to ensure every eligible immigrant has access to free legal services. We are assisting low-income community members from the tri-state area with determining if they qualify for the fee waiver in addition to providing application assistance free of charge.
DREAMER Scholarship Fund
With the fate of the DACA program unknown, dreamers are left in a precarious limbo seeking ways to continue living their lives as uninterrupted as possible. In response to the changing policy climate, HF redirected a portion of scholarship funds to help DREAM students finance their college education, focusing on three main categories identified as barriers to college graduation for undocumented students: transportation, tuition, and meal cards. This program is in partnership with John Jay College of Criminal Justice, serving students currently enrolled.
Soccer Camp for Unaccompanied Minors
The Friends of Immigrant Refugee Minors (FIRM) Program aims to establish a vital network of support services for Unaccompanied Minors (UAMs) who have entered the U.S. in recent years in search of refuge from the violence ravaging their Central American homelands. In partnership with Councilmember Francisco Moya and David Villa (former World cup winner in the 2016 South Africa games), HF has launched a free soccer program for UAMs. This program is hosted in Queens and offers free transportation to and from practices. The first round of programming served over 120 youth between the ages of 5 – 17 years and we are gearing up to launch the second year of programming.
Project Golden Door
There are more than 4 million immigrants residing in New York State. Many are families with children who are in need of a variety of services from information on education to economic resources. In partnership with the Children’s Village, Hispanic Federation is providing comprehensive family support services to bring experts into the community. Guided sessions cover topics from know your rights and contingency planning to navigate the education system and scam prevention.
Liberty Defense Project (LDP)
More than 800,000 immigrants are eligible to naturalize in New York State, but have yet to do so. They are faced with a myriad of challenges from lack of finances, inability to speak English, or they do not know what the process requires. Hispanic Federation recognizes the dire need to support the immigrant community in completing this final step towards U.S. citizenship. Through the Liberty Defense Project, we have launched a citizenship campaign to inform the community about the importance of naturalizing, the benefits that come with becoming a U.S. citizen, and how to start the process.
Hispanic Immigrant Integration Project (HIIP)
A groundbreaking partnership between Hispanic Federation and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Hispanic Immigrant Integration Project (HIIP) helps to facilitate the integration of Latino immigrants into their communities in the following states: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.
HIIP provides thousands of immigrants with key services including English as a Second Language and civics classes, citizenship application assistance, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, application assistance and family-based petition assistance to help them more fully integrate in American society. This initiative is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Walmart Foundation.
Office for New Americans (ONA)
As part of its ongoing commitment to support immigrants in New York, Hispanic Federation is a Neighborhood Based Opportunity Center under New York State’s Office for New Americans (ONA). Through this initiative HF provides New Yorkers with access to English language training and other services they need to readily participate in civic and economic life.
HF's Neighborhood Based Opportunity Center is a consortium comprised of HF and three member organizations, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Dominican Women's Development Center and Community Association of Progressive Dominicans. The Consortium provides participants with citizenship help and consultations, ESL classes, business seminars and access to job opportunities.
National Immigration Reform Efforts
The Hispanic Federation collaborates with national organizations like the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Labor Council on Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) to fight for comprehensive immigration reform. Under the co-leadership of the Hispanic Federation, groups meet with Congressional members, produce policy position letters, caucus with Administration officials, and produce and present recommendations on immigrant executive action to the White House.
State/Local Immigration Reform Efforts
HF is a leader on key immigration issues currently confronting localities and states across the country. In New York, for instance, HF worked alongside the de Blasio Administration in NYC to make municipal IDs for undocumented immigrants a reality under the IDNYC program, and continues efforts to raise public awareness of the IDNYC and its benefits. HF is also working with the We Are Florida coalition to eliminate a five year wait for immigrant children to get state health insurance, and oppose other anti-immigrant measures in Florida.
For more information, contact Stephanie Gomez, Director of Immigration Initiatives.