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:
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.
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.
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.