Every day, organizations worldwide are engaged in a collective two steps forward, one step back march toward improved immigration services and policies. What hard-earned lessons are these nonprofits, and the foundations that support them, learning from their persistent efforts? This collection of evaluations, case studies, and lessons learned exposes and explores the nuances of effective collaboration, the value of coordinated messaging, the bedrock of ongoing advocacy efforts, and the vital importance of long-term and flexible funding.

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Cruelty and Control: Reproductive Rights and Health Care in the U.S. Immigration System

October 18, 2021

The U.S. government runs the largest immigrant detention system in the world. A far cry from America's promises of liberty and freedom for all, this system is known for its cruelty. This cruelty is illustrated perhaps most acutely through the denial of reproductive freedom and health care for those detained in U.S. detention centers. This report contextualizes current attacks on immigrants' reproductive rights by laying out the United States' long and sordid history of criminalizing immigrants and communities of color, which continues from administration to administration up to the present day. In the report, we provide an overview of the federal agencies comprising the U.S. immigration system; the myriad of ways they are influencing access to, or denial of, reproductive health care, minor and maternal health care, and quality health care generally; and the depth in which these denials detrimentally affect communities of color and people who are young, LGBQTIA+ and/or undocumented. With its first report on this issue, Equity Forward hopes to elevate and add to the work of activists, advocates, researchers and truth-tellers who, for years, have been working to shed light on the inside of a system that operates with impunity. To that end, the report features original survey responses from organizations and individuals who have worked at the intersections of immigration advocacy and the reproductive health, rights and justice communities, as well as public records obtained by Equity Forward. We conclude with calls to action for transparency, accountability and reform of a carceral state that has been devastating for immigrants seeking a better life on U.S. soil.