About 1,000 activists, experts, authorities and spokespersons of pro-immigrant groups meet today at the National Conference on Immigration Integration (NIIC), which takes place over three days in Phoenix, Arizona.
This conclave opens at a time when the current administration of US President Donald Trump has an agenda that includes tightening immigration policies and strengthening border security.
“This conference has to mark the route to the future to see how we came out of this moment so disastrous for immigrants, without a doubt one of the worst stages, with a racist president,” the director of the Coalition for Human Rights told Efe. of the Immigrants (CHIRLA, in English), Angelica Salas, one of the participants.
The tenth edition of this conference, considered the largest of its kind in the US, will be held until Tuesday at the Phoenix Convention Center and will be attended by recognized rights leaders for immigrants such as Dolores Huerta, Bob Moses, Heather Booth and Congressman Luis Gutiérrez.
The opening plenary session, entitled “Lessons from Arizona and the Southwest,” will discuss the most relevant facts of the local activist community, including the fight against SB1070, which in the year of its approval (2010) was considered the stricter anti-immigrant law, or the electoral defeat of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
This plenary will feature the participation of Petra Falcón, executive director of the Promesa Arizona group, one of the organizers of the conference along with the National Association for New Americans (NPNA, for its acronym in English).
“The conference is an opportunity for a broad spectrum of leaders and advocates to meet the challenges facing our most vulnerable communities during one of the most unpleasant moments in our history,” said Joshua Hoyt, executive director of NPNA.
He reiterated that the “new Americans”, including the undocumented, refugees, asylum seekers, Muslims and those with protection status, help to build the nation and therefore it is necessary to guarantee “that they have the best tools and means to integrate and participate in their communities. ”
Salas said that in this last year, immigrant and refugee communities have faced a series of adverse events, such as the elimination of Deferred Action (DACA), which benefits undocumented youth who arrived during childhood, or the non-renewal of the Status of Temporary Protection (TPS) for Haitians and Nicaraguans.
“We are going to discuss how to scale our movement to another legislative level, these efforts that we are going to present are of short and long term, the conference focuses on the future of immigrants in the nation,” said the director of CHIRLA.
The activist put her hopes in the legislative elections of 2018 and the power that the Latino community has in those elections to be the force that generates the change in immigration policies.
“We have to break down the barriers and stop the attacks of the White House, the civic mobilization will be fundamental to respond to these difficult times,” he said. (efeusa)