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6 Local Organizations Fighting for Immigrant and Refugee Families

And how you can help

Published on: June 28, 2018

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With the recent outcry over President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance border-crossing policy, which has been in effect since April and resulted in the separation of more than 2,000 children from their families, immigration is the issue everyone is talking about.

The Office’s Executive Order and this week’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries has just heightened the tension.

But people aren’t just talking. They’re putting their money where their mouth is.

In just five days, a Facebook campaign raised more than $12 million dollars for the Texas-based nonprofit RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services).

While that is, of course, tremendously inspiring, there are a few things we must remember:

  1. These vulnerable populations need our solidarity not only when they’re making headlines but all the time.
  2. Volunteering can be just as powerful as donating.
  3. Local organizations don’t often attract the same kind of monetary support that larger national ones do. 

Outside of RAICES, there are plenty more incredible initiatives happening all over the country advocating for immigrants and refugees, including right here in the Seattle area.

If you want to get involved, take a gander at this list of local and national organizations that are championing a more just, more diverse America and find one (or several!) to support.  

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Founded in 1984, the NIRP “sees diversity and inclusiveness as a source of strength” and is committed to providing impact litigation, community education and direct legal services to immigrant survivors of domestic violence seeking immigration benefits, asylum seekers, families with a member facing deportation and immigrant children and youth. 

Colectiva Legal del Pueblo (People’s Law Collective)

As grassroots as it gets, a group of undocumented immigrants founded this legal collective in 2012 to provide legal assistance as well as workshops and trainings that work toward the “abolition of migrant imprisonment and shutting down detention centers that profit off the separation of families and exploited labor.” 

Refugee Women’s Alliance

ReWA supports multi-ethnic “refugee and immigrant women and their families with culturally and linguistically appropriate services” including behavioral health services, a domestic violence program, an early learning center and ESL classes, employment and job training, family empowerment such as food education, housing and homelessness prevention, legal help and more. 

Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of All Races)

Grounded in the Latino community but working to better the lives of all people, El Centro has been focusing on promoting unity “across all racial and economic sectors,” and organizing, empowering and defending marginalized communities since 1972. Through various programs, its participants work to enhance their lives by progressing toward 29 different “core outcomes.”  

International Rescue Committee

This global organization responds to humanitarian crises’ around the world. In 2017, the organization and their international partners provided cash and asset transfers to 179,491 households of refugees and vulnerable people, helped nearly 23 million people access primary health care, and provided 1.14 million children with schooling and other education opportunities. Last year in the U.S. alone, it helped to create 134 refugee-owned small businesses and helped resettle 10,665 refugees and special immigrant visa recipients. 

American Civil Liberties Union Immigration Rights Project 

No list would be complete without the inimitable ACLU, whose Immigration Rights Project is “dedicated to expanding and enforcing the civil liberties and civil rights of immigrants and to combating public and private discrimination against them.” Through fierce litigation and public advocacy, the organization has led the national charge on justice for immigrants for more than 25 years. 

Looking for more?

The Families Belong Together Protest Rally is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac (2425 S 200th St., Seattle).

Keep the conversation going at home with these books for preschoolers to tweens about immigration and these tips from the director of Latino content and outreach at Common Sense Media about discussing family separations at the U.S. southern border.

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