RAICES is today launching the RAICES Action Fund, an independent, 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of RAICES.
For over thirty years RAICES has provided legal and social services across the state of Texas and beyond. Following the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy in 2018, RAICES emerged as a leading group advocating for immigrant rights, challenging the administration’s anti-immigrant narrative, telling stories from those in detention and across the border, and organizing in communities across Texas to protect immigrant communities.
Today we’re taking this one step further: the RAICES Action Fund will engage in educational and electoral activity including public education campaigns, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. Fortifying our commitment to defend immigrant rights and human rights, we will push the democratic presidential candidates to adopt the Migrant Justice Platform, the platform RAICES developed with immigrant rights allies, to shape the narrative on immigration as elections in 2020 unfold to ensure that the voices of the immigrant community are heard.
On Friday Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Texas will reject refugees from resettling in the State, becoming the first state to decline resettlement under Trump’s executive order. The action fund will support organizers to make sure that people like Governor Abbott don’t ever get elected in the State of Texas again. It will organize and mobilize immigrants and allies in Texas and across the country to directly engage local and federal candidates on immigration.
In 2018 RAICES provided legal and case management protection that impacted the lives of more than 115,000 refugees and immigrants, including unaccompanied children and LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. Since 2018, RAICES Twitter followers increased from less than 2,000 to over 175,000 and our mailing list grew from zero to 330,000, becoming one of the country’s most prominent voices advocating for immigration rights. We fight in the courts, expose abuses in the media, and have become a national voice and fierce advocate for all those seeking refuge and a better life in this country. The RAICES Action Fund allows us to take our work to the next level.
“There has never been a more pressing time for us to both legally defend immigrants and fight in the corridors of power for those who need it most. Launching the RAICES Action Fund today sets us up to ensure immigrant voices are at the forefront of the 2020 presidential election cycle,” said Jonathan Ryan, RAICES President.
As we await the decision by the Supreme Court on DACA, the Action Fund will begin to organize immigrants and allies in key cities in Texas and beyond. Our political work will aim to vote out sheriffs who have worked closely with ICE to deport undocumented community members. We will organize thousands of immigrants and allies in the general election to vote out Donald Trump and bring justice to the immigrant community.
“For me, this moment is very personal,” said Erika Andiola, RAICES Chief Advocacy Officer. “This year, the Supreme Court will decide whether I get to keep my DACA or lose this protection, which lets me live, work, and contribute to my community. My mother is also in deportation proceedings. The thought of losing DACA or, worse, losing my own mother to deportation keeps me up at night. I can’t afford not to fight for me, for my mother, and for my community. And that’s why I’m calling on all those who support immigrant rights to support our work so that we can build political power for immigrants in this country.”
This year is a pivotal year for immigrants and the entire nation, as the presidential and other federal and local key elections are at play. We have to be very clear about this: if we don’t remove Donald Trump from office, the lives of millions of undocumented immigrants, migrants at the border and refugees seeking asylum, will be unbearable. In addition, we have an opportunity to create and shape a new narrative and new strategy for Democrats to follow if elected at the end of the year. This year will be the most important year in the history of the immigrant rights movement, and RAICES Action is ready to do its part.