Organizations Focused On Immigrant Civic Participation Encourage Immigrants To Be Part of the Broader Community

by David Scheie

Dec 29, 2006
The first year evaluation report on the Immigrant Participation & Immigration Reform (IPIR) initiative tells a story of human and social development -- newcomers joining and strengthening the democracy-among immigrants whose institutions engage them in organizational self-governance, leadership opportunities, and democratic civic activity. Indeed, evidence suggests that it is the quality of these organizations that draws immigrants into participation: Sixty-three percent of respondents said that one of their major motivations to be active in the community was that "I like being a part of an organization that does good work."
  • Evaluation data from 2006 show a network of organizations with strengths in civic engagement and organizing, and in collaboration and networking. These organizations demonstrated impressive capacity to mobilize immigrants and others in peaceful civic participation, as the largest public demonstrations in more than a generation took place in numerous American cities in the spring of 2006 in support of comprehensive, humane immigration reform -- demonstrations noteworthy for their dignified and orderly character.
  • Both coalitional work and grassroots engagement and leadership development are difficult and time-consuming. Immigrant Participation and Immigration Reform organizations displayed impressive stretch and reach in 2006 but now is a time to consolidate those gains through growth in organizations' internal capacities and strengthening of shared vision for collaboration in the field.
  • Immigrant Participation and Immigration Reform organizations are hungry for more time to dialogue with one another for peer learning and so that important differences in analysis, strategy, and immigrant constituencies can be bridged more effectively.
  • Immigrant Participation and Immigration Reform organizations are eager to strengthen their fundraising capacities and diversify their funding base; to broaden and deepen their leadership pools; to work on local and state-level immigrant integration issues as well as federal policy reform; to expand their capacities for communication and self-evaluation; and to become more effective at voter registration, education and mobilization.
  • Individual immigrants are being drawn into civic participation: learning, growing, and integrating into their communities through active community problem-solving.
  • Organizations are identifying and strengthening their capacities, overcoming their differences to form successful coalitions and encouraging immigrants to take on leadership roles in the democracy.
  • Local-to-national networks are learning from earlier challenges to increase communication, collaboration, trust, and effectiveness, and they played key roles in the massive outpouring of public support for comprehensive immigration reform seen in the spring of 2006.
Linked Data show/hide