Response to ICE raids targeting immigrants

JANUARY 12th, 2016—We, as Central American organizations and allies who have collectively worked closely with hundreds of Central American refugee mothers, children, and families since January 2014, including the mothers who went on hunger strike in 2015 at Karnes Detention Center to demand their own freedom, call on the Obama Administration to meet the following demands immediately:

1. Halt the inhumane deportation of refugee families
2. Recognize Central American asylum seekers as refugees and its root causes
3. Provide deportation relief for families with pending asylum cases
4. Support efforts and resources to heal refugee trauma
5. Stop the continued criminalization of Central Americans
6. Defund border militarization in Central America and Mexico

Humanitarian Crisis of Unaccompanied Minors

(June 25, 2014, Los Angeles) – CARECEN Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC call for a coordinated humanitarian response to the thousands of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S. border. CARECEN will work 1) to ensure that these children have adequate legal representation and support services, 2) to advocate for humane policies that protect their lives and 3) to promote coordination at the regional level with the governments of Central America, the U.S. and Mexico that begins to address the long term root causes of this crisis.

Youth Leadership

Started in 2014, CARECEN’s youth leadership development program works with Latino and other immigrant youth in Washington, DC. Our after school meeting times are supplemented by excursions and other hands-on activities throughout the year. Through activities that highlight the importance of education, community involvement, and civic engagement, the program aims to help participants build the skills necessary to become leaders among their peers and in their communities.

CARECEN’s youth participants engage in activities around the following themes: Identity, Team-building and Community; Human Rights and Social Change; Community Service and Civic Participation; and Leadership.

Community Education: Know Your Rights

Throughout the year, CARECEN organizes “Know Your Rights” community workshops and follow-up activities aimed at educating the community about civil rights violations such as discrimination in housing, employment, and public services; immigration law enforcement by local police; violations of labor laws and workers’ rights; housing and health code violations; language access to public services in the District of Columbia, and more.

These workshops and presentations feature CARECEN staff as well as staff from partner organizations such as the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and the D.C. Language Access Coalition.

Permanent Residency for Central Americans with TPS

CARECEN has been a longtime advocate of the extension of Temporary Protected Status to Central Americans nationwide. In 2005, CARECEN launched a postcard writing campaign to promote the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans and other Central American immigrants. Approximately 327,000 immigrants benefited when that extension was granted. In 2012 CARECEN DC joined more than 20 organizations in 15 states to launch the national campaign for Permanent Residence for Central Americans who currently have Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Supporting Language Access

In 2004 CARECEN became a founding member of the D.C. Language Access Coalition in support of the Language Access Act. The Act was passed in 2004 and is intended to ensure language services for low-income immigrants in DC. The multiethnic D.C. Language Access Coalition monitors the implementation and effectiveness of the Act and seeks to keep the city accountable to the law and its measures. CARECEN has served on various committees of the coalition and most recently on the Executive Committee, the Coalition’s decision making body. In 2012 the D.C. Language Access Coalition collaborated with the American University Washington College of Law Immigrant Justice Clinic to release “Access Denied”, a study of the city government’s compliance with the D.C. Language Access Act.

Supporting Comprehensive Immigration Reform

In 2006, CARECEN took an active role in mobilizations on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform that drew approximately 1.25 million participants across the country. In March 2010, CARECEN joined forces with other local and national organizations and mobilized over 15,000 Latinos from the District of Columbia to march and rally in support of immigration reform. CARECEN regularly informs constituents on key issues such as legalization as a path to citizenship for the undocumented, worker rights, civil rights and civil liberties, and the DREAM Act.