TX Advocates for Immigrant Rights Say Politics Exhausts Needed Donations
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Organizations that help immigrants find a community, achieve economic self-sufficiency, and become legal residents or citizens say anti-immigrant rhetoric has created a funding challenge. Financial donations are down in Texas - which has bused more than 20,000 migrants to unprepared cities. Lawmakers have considered legislation to create a state border police task force empowered to "repel" and arrest migrants.
Tania Chavez Camacho, executive director, La Unión Del Pueblo Entero, or LUPE, said a lack of funding impacts direct services they can provide.
"We need the funding to be flexible because oftentimes we might need to house families, we might need to feed families, we might need to fly families," she explained.
Nationwide, the funding average for pro-immigrant and pro-refugee groups is $7, compared with $3.50 in Texas, according to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. Texas immigrants account for 1/6 of the state's total population.
Cairo Mendes is with the group Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees. He says philanthropic donations are needed to meet and match public dollars and support the work done for migrants and immigrants by non-traditional groups.
"The small grassroots organizations that just don't have the sort-of infrastructure to be doing the development work day in and day out but are really connected to community and have access to these individuals," Mendes explained.
A "mobile app" created by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to help schedule immigration court hearings is well-intentioned, Chavez Camacho said, but she noted it is not always practical.
"They are asking people to sign up for an appointment via an app - when they're literally running for their lives - seems not OK. Absolutely not OK," Chavez Camacho continued.
Legal permanent and temporary immigration rose in 2022 after the COVID-19 public-health crisis abated and the Biden administration extended or expanded "Temporary Protected Status" for certain eligible U.S. immigrants.
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