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Immigrant & Refugee Justice

Immigrants and refugees are a part of our community, and their experiences are shaped by the actions we take. We need to engage in activism and campaigns that support their lives and allow them to better transition into the community. Because most of them do not have a voice, we need to take action and speak up to ensure that they are protected. We need to demand justice for them in areas where they are facing injustice.

History of the Issue at CC

  • 2016: CC Refugee Alliance Kick-off Info Session
  • 2016: Partnership with Colorado Springs through the Lutheran Family Services (LFS) organization and the federal resettlement program
  • 2016: Lutheran Family Services mandatory training for volunteering working with refugees.
  • 2016: CC Refugee Alliance lunch lecture with Yazan Fettaleh
  • 2017: National Teach-in on the presidential executive order banning Muslims, immigrants, and refugees.
  • 2017: CC Refugee Alliance first book club
  • 2017: First ESL Tutor Training
  • 2018: First Panel Discussion on “Sanctuary: Conscience and Witness”
  • 2019: Lecture by Alice Drive on “Covering the Migrant Caravan.”
  • 2019: Refugee Alliance Faculty Conversation
  • 2020: CEL Program on Medical English: Bridging my passions for healthcare, education, and immigration into a course and mentorship program for immigrants & refugees in Colorado Springs.
  • 2020: Refugee Alliance Holiday Gift Giving
  • 2020: Creation of Immigrant & Refugee Justice
  • 2020: First Coalition Meeting

Current State of the Issue at CC

Groups

  • Aprender Mediante Amistad (AMA)
    • AMA is dedicated to assisting community children whose parents in many cases do not speak English fluently and are unable to help their children with their homework. AMA helps these children improve their reading and homework skills and provides them with fun and educational activities.
  • Colorado College Refugee Alliance
    • CCRA partners with Lutheran Family Services Refugee and Asylee Programs to help refugees achieve self-sufficiency in the U.S.

Courses

  • Immigration Stories in Education (ED 250)
    • Instructor: Kathleen Greene
    • Description: Historically, how have immigrants been taught in U.S. schools? How is the topic of immigration currently taught in this country? What views and attitudes toward immigration, immigrants, and refugees are communicated in schools through the curriculum (and how that curriculum is enacted)? How do issues of power and equity contribute to educational challenges for children of immigrant and refugee families in the U.S.? In addition to examining these questions, we will also collect and tell stories of meaningful action by schools, communities, and individuals with respect to teaching the topic of immigration and to working with immigrants and refugees.
  • Advanced Topics in Sociology (SO 290)
    • Instructor: Eric S. Popkin
    • Description: This community-engaged course/program offers students two project options – the first is an opportunity to collaborate directly with Latinx/immigrant-led organizations in the US Southwest and receive training to implement strategic community- based research projects tied to campaigns that aim to dismantle ICE enforcement mechanisms/policies that criminalize immigrant communities. Students in a second track will assist attorneys with the Southern Poverty Law Center representing immigrants in detention centers in the US Southeast - students conduct intake and follow up interviews, engage in case-specific research, and implement bond release and transition campaigns. The course is planning to conduct much of the work remotely but options for in-person fieldwork may be possible depending on conditions in summer 2021.

Local Organizations

  • Lutheran Family Services -- Refugee & Asylum Program
  • Projects:
    • Handbook Creation/Updating: volunteer handbook, staff handbook, manuals for processes/programs
    • Research Projects: gather new data and info through surveys or phone/virtual interviews, needs assessments, asset mapping, program evaluation, synthesize existing info
    • Phone Interpretation: Spanish-speakers needed!
    • Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services has an online “toolkit” you can download on their website that lists off all the ways you can support migrants during COVID-19. Many individuals are stuck in migrant detention centers right now, and LIRS is recommending folks reach out because it is an even scarier time for them right now.
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How to Get Involved

Issue Organizer: Peniel Owusu-Ansah
Paraprofessional Project Advisor(s): Coming soon!

Join Now! (Outlook Group)

Resources

Documentary Films
  • Colorado Refugee Connect cultivated a list of films, both documentaries and feature films, that relate to this issue area. Check out the full list of 30+ movies here!
Presentations, Panels, & Short Clips
  • TED has a collection of talks related to support services for refugees, the importance of promoting asylum for refugees, and more. Click here to explore their cultivated list.
  • Colorado Refugee Connect has a whole series of short, introductory videos related to this issue area. Check them out through this link!
Podcast Episodes & Series
  1. “The Undocumented Americans" podcast episode about Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s new book focused on under-documented stories of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
  2. ”How DACA Has Transformed The Lives Of Dreamers — And Their Communities” on the US Supreme Court’s decision to uphold DACA (the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals) Program
  3. “Inside Trump’s Immigration Crackdown” episode from the New York Times, featuring documentary filmmakers who filmed behind the scenes footage with the ICE for all four years
  4. LOCAL: “ICE Detainees Find Help in Casa de Paz” part of a podcast episode from Colorado Matters covering this local volunteer-run operation that supports folks who are released from detention centers in Aurora, CO.
  5. LOCAL (Colorado College): The Colorado College Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies podcast brings regional scholars, intellectuals, and activists to share their expertise on a wide range of issues related to the US Southwest and US-Mexico borderlands. You can find the podcast here, as well as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and several other podcast streaming platforms.
Websites, Databases, Books, Articles & Newsletters 
  1. Immigration Law
  2. Related News Articles from the Center for American Progress
  3. Immigration 101 from Immigration Impact
  4. Immigration ICE Explained; helpful article from a law office’s perspective
  5. Colorado Refugee Connect is a great resource for folks interested in or currently working in this issue area and/or for immigrant/refugees themselves 
  6. Others Books & Articles 
    • Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron
    • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Last updated: 01/25/2021