National Immigration Law Center Launches Winning in the States Initiative

May 21, 2018

Email: [email protected]
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

National Immigration Law Center Launches Winning in the States Initiative

NILC plans to invest more than $5M over next three years to drive advances in the states

Washington — Today, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is launching the Winning in the States initiative to fast-track policy advances at the state and local levels and build momentum for reforms at the federal level.

Together, NILC and its state partners will prioritize encouraging state policies that include making college accessible by enabling immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid, improving public safety by ensuring that immigrants have access to driver’s licenses, ensuring that law enforcement can focus on keeping communities safe rather than being deputized as deportation force agents, and enabling immigrant children to have access to health protections.

In the first year of the initiative, the effort is providing deep, strategic investments and hands-on campaign support in Colorado, New Jersey, Oregon, and Tennessee while offering a more robust support infrastructure for states across the country that rely on NILC for legal, policy, and communications expertise.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“Despite efforts that seek to divide us, immigrants and their allies are successfully advocating for policy change at the state and local levels, working in close partnership with elected officials and leaders in business, labor and faith communities. Through our Winning in the States initiative, NILC will deepen its support of these efforts, helping bring about an America where all residents, regardless of their immigration status, are treated fairly, feel safe in pursuing their daily activities, and are welcomed as full, contributing members of society. By building on victories at the state and local levels, we’ll help shape a more inclusive narrative where immigrants are recognized as integral to making local communities stronger and healthier. We firmly believe this will help create the political conditions needed for federal reforms.”

Johanna Calle, director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ), said:

“NILC’s Winning in the States Project is a game-changer for us. Their hands-on help with bill drafting, political strategy, and communications, along with financial support, is invaluable as we work to take advantage of pro-immigrant momentum in the Garden State this legislative session to grant access to driver’s licenses for immigrants and pass Fair and Welcoming actions at the state level.”

Nicole Melaku, executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), said:

“This legislative session, we worked to secure protections for Colorado’s immigrant communities and successfully expanded access to driver’s licenses for all. From strategic counsel in dealing with legislative leaders to support drafting legislation and crafting polling, the NILC team has become a crucial partner to us.”

Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), said:

“Tennessee is one of America’s newest immigrant gateways and home to one of the country’s fastest growing immigrant populations. When our state and local policies make it easier for all families to fully participate, contribute, and belong, our whole community will be stronger.”

Andrea Williams, executive director of Causa Oregon, said:

“We’re readying to fight a November ballot initiative that would undo Oregon’s 30-year-old sanctuary policy, and the road ahead will be a challenge. We’re thankful to have a key national partner on the campaign’s executive committee helping us beat back this effort.”