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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Evaluation of a Pilot Project to Advance Pro-Immigrant Advocacy for Center for New Community, National Immigration Law Center, Progressive States Action

March 31, 2014

Since the four pillars were articulated in 2007, the immigrant rights movement has expanded in a number of significant ways. It has built stronger partnerships, both with other progressive groups, and with moderate and conservative allies. It has taken on a more state-level focus, as the continued failure to achieve comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level has led to a proliferation of state-level laws and initiatives. And new voices and leaders have emerged within the movement, most notably the "DREAMers," young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who would benefit from the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship and other benefits for those in their specific situation.The net result of these changes has been a movement that is more adaptable, more localized, and more diverse -- but not necessarily more effective, when judged by the national-level metric of achieving comprehensive immigration reform. And it is debatable to what extent advances at the state level have been the result of state-level, ground-up organizing vs. coordinated action from national organizations.The pilot project that is the subject of this evaluation gets at these very issues. It addresses the possibility of pro-immigrant advocacy at the state level, and tests a model of national-local collaboration to advance this goal.

Advocacy; Coalition Building & Collaboration; Research & Evaluation