Streams

Grantmakers Play an Important Role in Comprehensive Immigration Reform Efforts

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Laughter and jokes belie the serious planning that’s taking place on the eighth floor of a building in midtown Manhattan. Five staffers of United We Dream are tackling everything from finding new space to long-term goals.

This group, started in 2008 by college students without legal status, has expanded to be the biggest youth-led immigrant organization in the country with 52 affiliates in 23 states. And they're hot on the heels of last year’s success.

"We were able to not only organize at the grassroots level and mobilize young people all across the country," said Cristina Jimenez, United We Dream's managing director, talking about last year. "But we were also able to be sophisticated about our thinking and engaging with many immigration law experts."

The organization lobbied the White House and played a key role in getting deferred action put in place. Over 420,000 children brought illegally to the United States have so far gotten temporary work permits. Their work didn't go unnoticed. One of the biggest national immigration funders, the Open Society Foundations has given them $800,000 in grants to date.

"In a proposal what I look for is a really strong vision and a very a compelling strategy with very clear activities that will get us to the policy change we want to see, that moves our grant making forward," said Archana Sahgal, who manages the immigration portfolio at the Open Society Foundation.

She was looking at a new grant proposal from United We Dream that would be used to work on comprehensive immigration reform. The Open Society gave nearly $70 million to immigration advocates in the past eight years. They’re just one organization in a big group of national funders, such as the Ford Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, who are putting millions of dollars into work being done of behalf of immigrants.

And there’s still not enough money for all. Sahgal is currently looking at a dozen proposals from organizations who’ve applied for grants to work on immigration reform. What sometimes tips the scale is an organization’s particular advantage, such as in the case of United We Dream.

"A part of our analysis is that DREAMers are net natives," Sahgal said. "They grew up with the Internet and so they’re really sophisticated with the ability to communicate with young people and their members and other young undocumented youth over Facebook, over Twitter."

Sahgal says immigration funders are working together in an attempt to seize what they see as a big opportunity to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Geri Mannion, who directs the U.S. democracy program at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, thinks the work of some of their grantees could make a difference. They’ve brought in groups that were not present in previous immigration reform efforts.

"There’s coalitions now that weren’t available in the past, of evangelicals and other faith leaders," she said.

One of those grantees, the National Immigration Forum, is behind a 40-day “I Was a Stranger” prayer challenge.

The Church of the Lamb of the Nazarene on the Lower East Side is taking part in it. On a recent Sunday pastor Gabriel Salguero told his parishioners they don’t need to look hard to see how they should act when it comes to immigration reform.

"The way we treat the stranger, Jesus said, is the way you treat me," he said during the service.

Rev. Salguero is the President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. He and over 150 other evangelical leaders from around the country have been inviting their congregations to read passages from the Bible related to immigrants for forty days. Their goal, he said, is to create a small army of evangelical Christians "to advocate with their congressmen, to write them letters and visit them to call for immigration reform."

But Mannion of Carnegie says she remains skeptical about the possibility of passing comprehensive immigration reform.

"We’ve been close before many times," she said. "A lot of things can happen between the start and the finish line."

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Comments [6]

Dave Francis from Indianapolis, IN

For the reader who has a few minutes of spare time, they should fervently study the commentary in the national and rural media? In the headlines of the editorials you would think illegal aliens were a positive issue and that the majority of Americans agreed with a Path to Citizenship. However the greater part of commentary, blogs and even short articles show the real temperament of the citizens and residents of this nation. Not even the Socialist opponents can hide the truth, unless they delete the facts, which unfortunately they do in the messages people leave. Even in the Liberal newspapers it clearly indicates that illegal aliens should be placed on buses and deported. Obviously the Liberal press says differently from deceptive polls, to their seclusive headlines. In just one prime example NBC television and radio have used its ample resources to broadcast deceptive information about such things as illegal aliens and even the gun controversy. NBC have been caught in their misleading propaganda by editing the words of Republican Congressman Paul Ryan.

Outside of the rhetoric produced by the journalist in the mainstream press, the truth is our there? You cannot convince me as a Independent voter in any way, that the American people want to incessantly keep paying for the children smuggled across our borders or pregnant mothers who use the airlines to also smuggle their unborn past unsuspecting Customs and immigration officers. This situation is despicable because once reaching sovereign America the female claims citizenship for the child. Relating to food stamps these households have a combination of illegal aliens (often parents) and citizens (usually kids); only the citizens are technically entitled for the benefits of the program, but if groceries purchased by Food Stamps are on the table, the common-sense conjecture is that all those in the family circle will benefit from it. Large illegal alien families with two or three progeny, with even more citizen children can apply for a cornucopia of food stamps, free breakfast and lunch, free education, free medical care and other citizen entitlements.

Feb. 20 2013 11:45 PM
Dave Francis from Indianapolis, IN

Then on a state to state basis every child can receive a monthly lump sum of cash. So the media who passionately try to defend illegal aliens, saying they are not eligible for food stamps are collecting indirectly a mass of benefits for every citizen child. It is time the BIRTHRIGHT CITIZEN BILL to be voted on, to stop this draining of King Obama’s Imperial coffers and subsidies that states must incur? To complete the drastic measures is the E-Verify electronic detection program. Thousands of concerned businesses have adopted this measure with remarkable results, to locate the millions of illegal migrants and immigrants stealing the 23 million American jobs. As a mandatory law it would not only check new hires, but that extends the provision under THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT. Additionally to that every American and Permanent Resident should be issued with a biometric ID card, detailing a thumbprint and retinal scan, for serious proof who you are? In Furtherance, there is even a law to combat the FAMILY CHAIN MIGRATION, that is been a law for years, that is just is as expensive for the taxpayers, who end up footing the bill for immediate family after the sponsor fails to financially support them anymore?. This is not about a individuals skin color, this is entirely, absolutely, and factually about rewarding foreign nationals who broke into this free land.

DEMAND the double parallel fences attributed to the 2006 Secure Fence Act. Two barriers with avenues for rapid disbursement of Immigration agents.

ALL AMERICANS HAVE A CHOICE? YOU CAN EITHER SIT BACK AND DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OR SPEAK UP AS ONE PEOPLE. THESE THREE LAWS ARE SITTING DORMANT IN SOME CABINET IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. PHONE YOUR disgraceful POLITICIANS THROUGH THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT PHONE SWITCHBOARD AT (202) 224-3121. We still have a chance to make ourselves known to that Gang of 8 politicians, as there is access to free faxes at NumbersUSA, to petition in Congress.

Taxpayers can keep supporting the millions of illegal aliens already here and all those who will be encouraged by the potential of Obama’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform appearing in the next months to come? Or you can join the fight against ignorance of what America is facing with even more hundreds of billions forcibly taken by the IRS annually.

Feb. 20 2013 11:43 PM
USA-Patriot-Citizens from New York, USA

Randy from Washington DC

I fully support DREAM Act.

BUT there should be certain factors to legalize rest of other undocumented people.

1. married couple living more than 10 years, working, have child, no criminal background, paying taxes. they can apply for citizenship after 5 years. can't sponsor other family members. don't have to wait back of the line.

2. single person living and working more than 10 years, no child, no criminal background, paying taxes. apply citizenship after 6 years. can't sponsor other family members. have to wait back of the line.

3. if a person/married couple is living more than 5 years, apply citizenship after 9 years. can't sponsor family. have to wait back of the line.

4. All person living in US more than 3 years, have no US born kid, or can not be qualified as parents of a children under Dream Act. apply citizenship after 15 years. Can not Sponsor, further, from outside of the USA. would HAVE TO PAY BACK-TAXES/New Taxes.

5. All person living in US less than 3 years. Must go back.

How come we give the same punishment for the person who just got here six months ago and people who lives here for 10 years and working hard for American family..think about it.

I would support the above!

Thanks, regards!

Feb. 20 2013 05:15 PM
Randy from Washington DC

I fully support DREAM Act.

BUT there should be certain factors to legalize rest of other undocumented people.

1. married couple living more than 10 years, working, have child, no criminal background, paying taxes. they can apply for citizenship after 5 years. can't sponsor other family members. don't have to wait back of the line.

2. single person living and working more than 10 years, no child, no criminal background, paying taxes. apply citizenship after 6 years. can't sponsor other family members. have to wait back of the line.

3. if a person/married couple is living more than 5 years, apply citizenship after 9 years. can't sponsor family. have to wait back of the line.

4. All person living in US less than 3 years, have no US born kid, or can not be qualified as parents of a children under Dream Act. apply citizenship after 15 years.

5. All person living in US less than 3 years. Must go back.

How come we give the same punishment for the person who just got here six months ago and people who lives here for 10 years and working hard for American family..think about it.

Feb. 20 2013 01:09 PM

The corporations want "comprehensive immigration reform" which will include allowing them to import as much foreign labor as they want. This will serve simply to further lower wages, eliminate all benefits, crush American working people, increase unemployment, and further impoverish our communities. The entire idea of "comprehensive immigration reform" is corporate-sponsored.

Should we change some aspects of our immigration law? Of course. Anyone brought here as a child should be allowed to become a citizen if they want, but they should not be allowed to use their status to bring all their relatives here.

Normally a citizen can bring their relatives here based on their citizenship: parents, spouses, children, siblings. If we granted citizenship to the 12 million unauthorized migrants living here (and maybe we should), and we allow them to bring their relatives, that could easily create over 100-200 million new residents within 10-20 years, or increase our population by 1/3 to 2/3. Is there any benefit to the American citizens in doing that? Absolutely not, particularly when most of those 100-200 million people do not speak English, have little education, will earn low wages and be unable to contribute to their communities financially.

I'm underestimating here. Let's say 1 kid is granted citizenship; they bring 2 parents, 5 siblings and the siblings bring their spouses and kids, let's say 5 spouses and 10 kids. For each 1 kid granted citizenship, that equals 22 new residents. 12 million current unauthorized migrants x 22 friends and family = 260 million new residents. Almost doubling our population in 10 years. I haven't even mentioned yet that all those people will themselves have children. The likely effect? Chaos. Or, go take a look at Tijuana: mass poverty, failure of basic systems like water, sewer, trash, police, fire, schools.

It is not the job of the U.S. to accommodate migrants from other countries in excess of the number that can be reasonably integrated into our communities. I would say let those of the 12 million who have lived here a long time, work, support themselves, and have no serious criminal background, get in line to become citizens if they want to. But they do not get to bring family members here based on their citizenship.

Feb. 20 2013 12:20 PM
wigglwagon

The penalty for employers of illegal aliens should be mandatory sentences of $15,000 fines per illegal worker and 2 years in jail without parole per illegal worker. That and deportation of the illegal workers would put an immediate end to the problem.

That is all the reform we need.

Feb. 20 2013 09:45 AM

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