Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King in our work for immigrant rights

Dear Network Friends,

Fifty-seven years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King wrote these words that resonate today in our work for immigrant and refugee rights. As we move the mission of the NNIRR forward, we honor and celebrate Dr. King and continue to be guided by his work for racial equity and justice, and movement building for education, housing, workers’ rights and more.

In this spirit, we want to take a moment and introduce ourselves as the new leadership team at the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. We both come to the Network with deep roots in the immigrant rights movement, and as we take on our roles as Co-Directors of this historic organization, we reaffirm our commitment in this critical time in history, when the meaning of fair, humane and just immigration policy has never been more important to define and fight for. You can read more about us here.

As immigrants, refugees and border families experience the intensification of immigration enforcement and militarization, we need to build spaces that support transformational leadership that can shift narratives, advocate for and change local and national policies, and build a movement that upholds human rights, civil liberties and human dignity.

At NNIRR, we believe that long-term transformational change will come from empowering and amplifying the voices of leaders on the ground and by building the capacity of organized communities to claim their power. We remain steadfast to the principle mission of NNIRR as a center for human rights advocacy and education to defend and expand the rights of ALL immigrants, regardless of status.

We are committed to building on the intersectional legacy of the Network, through partnerships with faith, labor, environmental, LGBTQI, racial justice and women’s movements and bridge voices and concerns to the national and international struggle for migrants’ rights.

With the stakes high in 2020 for immigrant communities, we have ambitious plans for the Network this year, and we hope we can count on your support to help in our success. We will take decisive action to protect immigrant inclusion in the 2020 Census, monitor and engage candidates prior to the November elections and support voter participation to press for fair and humane proposals for immigration policy. And, in our efforts to address the human rights issues at the border, we are opening an office in El Paso, TX where we will base our outreach to our partners on the ground, co-sponsor strategic actions and share local/regional work with our broader nationwide network.

This Martin Luther King Day reminds us that the struggle for recognition of humanity and human rights is far from over, but we are buoyed by the legacy of Dr. King and so many inspiring movement builders who have paved the way for NNIRR’s work for social justice.

We appreciate all of you for your support and solidarity, and hope we can count on your partnership as we strengthen the Network and bring out wins for immigrant rights in 2020!

With love and solidarity,

Alma Maquitico & Jen Ferrigno