This week I joined over 250 immigrant leaders, activists and organizers from 25 states at the Alliance for Citizenship’s Immigration Power 2016 convening. I didn’t go alone, though. I was joined by three of Advancing Justice | AAJC’s Community Partners: the Asian American Federation of Florida, the Asian Pacific Development Center in Colorado, and OCA Greater Tucson.
The purpose of the convening was to develop a national strategy and share plans for engaging and mobilizing immigrant, Latino and Asian American voters for next year’s election.
It is no mistake that we gathered in Nevada, which has historically been a key swing state in national elections. Nevada is also home to the fastest growing Asian American community in the country, whose population increased by 116% between 2000 and 2010. This Asian American population accounts for about 9% of the state’s total population, a figure beat only by Hawaii and California. In Nevada, Asian Americans see our numbers translating into real power at the ballot box.
Beyond the 2016 election, it’s clear that local and state level advocacy—and the work of our partners — will be immensely important in the years to come as we fight to secure progressive victories for immigrant communities on the local, state and federal levels.
While national immigration reform that creates a pathway to citizenship and preserves family-based immigration is the ultimate goal, progress on the local and state level is normalizing pro-immigrant policies from the bottom up, and will ultimately lead the way for progressive federal reforms. More than 300 jurisdictions across the county have already implemented community trust policies aimed at building trust between immigrants and law enforcement.
Our Community Partners and I discussed our main take-aways from the convening. We know we have work to do to strengthen our local networks, and change the narrative within our community about how important it is to be engaged in immigration advocacy. We want to strengthen connections to other immigrant communities and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We look forward to working with our Community Partners today, tomorrow, and in the years to come as we fight for social justice for immigrant communities.