DACA Recipients Are Mobilizing, Is Philanthropy Ready to Help?

The last few days have been very difficult for many of us after the Trump’s administration decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This decision affects my family, my coworkers, my community, and our economy. In the midst of all this frustration and anger, I have been inspired by the resilience and determination of the DREAMers I know. They are not surprised—they knew this might be coming. They are strong, they are organizing, and they are mobilizing because they know there is no time to waste. They are, as they chant, “Undocumented and unafraid.”

Dreamers and their families are doing their part but are funders ready to mobilize and stand behind them?  Here are a few ways your organization can start standing behind dreamers:

Support staff that might be affected by the elimination of DACA. Send a message to your staff affirming that your organization will stand behind all employees regardless of immigration status. Point people to someone in your HR department they can talk to and offer free 24-hour legal support from an immigration lawyer for those who might be personally impacted by this. John Kania, Global Managing Director at FSG, sent a strong message to our staff this week saying, “Whatever Congress or the country decides, for everyone affected by this decision I want you to know that FSG is, and will continue to be, your home. Our values have never been more important and they will continue to guide our actions and our hopes.”

Dreamers came out of the shadows, now it is your organization’s turn. If you think rescinding DACA is an injustice that goes against your values then you need to come out and say it publicly as an organization. Social sector organizations hold a lot of influence and taking a stand can help change the public narrative in support of Dreamers and other immigrant communities. Need some inspiration? Read the strong statements from The James Irvine Foundation, Ending DACA Is Wrong, Requires Action and PolicyLink, We Are All Dreamers.

Attend to the needs of immigrants and refugees in the communities you serve. You don’t need to be an immigrant rights funder to support programs for immigrants and refugees. If you are working with traditionally underserved populations, it is very likely that you are serving DACA recipients and other immigrant communities. To see an example check out Pride Foundation’s statement in support of DREAMers highlighting the overlap between DACA participants and the LGBTQ community.  

Stay connected with the immigrant rights philanthropy field. Consider becoming a member of Grantmakers Concerned about Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), a membership organization for funders interested in immigration and immigrant integration issues. Join them for a webinar on September 14th to learn more about how to support DACA recipients and attend their bi-annual convening, United We Rise, in LA February 27—March 1, 2018. Also, tell Congress to protect our dreamers by adding your signature to this petition from Hispanics in Philanthropy. These 2 social sector organizations are great ways to stay connected with funders and be supportive of immigrants and refugees.

Fund the movement. Consider starting or increasing funding for immigrant rights advocacy work. There are both national organizations such as United We Dream and regional groups such as Northwest Immigrant Right Project in the Pacific Northwest that offer resources and support to DACA recipients. If you are exploring funding opportunities, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees have a helpful resource, Supporting Immigrants and Refugees in Volatile Times, What Philanthropy Can Do, to determine where you might have the best leverage.     

I want to leave you with a spoken word piece I presented to queer and trans Latinx students at the University of Washington in Seattle. Let’s continue fighting. Let’s stand behind immigrants and refugees and honor their voices and their fight. Si se puede philanthropy! 


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