The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) is a center for human rights advocacy and education in the immigrant rights movement. Since 1986, NNIRR has worked to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants and refugees, regardless of immigration status -- connecting membership from diverse immigrant communities, as well as activists and allies in faith-based, labor, civil and human rights, women's and other sectors around the country. The National Network takes an "intersectional" approach to its mission and programs, aligning with other key movements to build a shared agenda for social and economic justice. NNIRR is also active in the global movement for migrant rights and works with partners to address "root causes" of migration and to fight for the safety, health and human rights of migrants and refugees worldwide, particularly through our advocacy at the United Nations and with member states. We are co-founders of the Global Coalition on Migration and the Women in Migration Network.
About This Cause
In 1986, a diverse group of grassroots community groups and faith, labor and civil rights leaders who met during the campaign for immigration reform—that would eventually give us the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, or IRCA—formed the National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights. While the compromise bill provided welcome legalization for millions of undocumented, it also set in place the criminalization of undocumented immigrant workers and the growing militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, that we have continued to fight ever since. At the time, our movement also worked on the refugee issues of the day: hundreds of thousands of Central American and Haitian refugees fleeing repression, war and violence in their homelands. And so we became the network for “immigrant and refugee” rights.
Amazingly, today we continue to work on the very same issues that brought us together more than 30 years ago. This is not to say that we have not made progress. Many, many more people have come to understand the complexities of the immigration issue, and have taken a stand: to oppose the separation of families at the border; to oppose the detention of immigrants due to immigration status. To understand that migrants have the right to apply for asylum.
At the international level, NNIRR has been working with civil society partners and other governments to promote rights-based global migration policies. We are proud to have added our voice to the development of the new UN Global Compact for Migration, which will be approved in Morocco this December. While the US government withdrew from the process a year ago, we believe the Compact, even though a non-binding document, helps to shift the global narrative on migration to one based on fairness and human rights, instead of a narrative based on fear, racial division and xenophobia.
We are working with partners who are addressing climate change, one of the other critical issues of our time. We are working to build a better understanding of the connection between climate change and migration -- with solidarity and a common will to address "root causes" and mitigate the negative consequences of climate change that even now are a major source of population displacement.
33 years is a long time, but we continue to be inspired by the collective commitment of groups and individuals who have travelled this road with us. It certainly hasn't been easy; these are values and tasks that are typically not “popular” or “fundable”, and progress is often slow. Yet, we have every basis to remain hopeful and determined, and we recommit ourselves to take on the daunting challenges in the days, months, and years to come. In 2019 and beyond, we plan to continue tearing down walls (physical, political and ideological) and lifting up justice for ALL.
Over the next year, we are rallying our members and friends to support a FAIR and INCLUSIVE count for Census 2020. We are joining s a national partner for the official census, working directly in out hometown community of Alameda County, collaborating with members on active efforts in South Texas, Mississippi, Arizona and with African immigrant communities, and heading up advocacy for a safe and non-threatening environment for full participation of our diverse immigrant communities. April 1, 2020 will be Census Day, kicking off months of outreach and follow-up to the new on-line Census -- we'll be ready as "trusted messengers" to help ensure ALL are counted!
We invite you all to continue with us on this journey.
We are deeply grateful for the solidarity and support of all who have traveled with the National Network: our founding organizations, Board members, individual and organizational members, staff, volunteers, interns, allies and collaborators, donors and funders.