Hispanic Affairs Project

Help us create Western Colorado communities where immigrants actively contribute to a more just and equitable society for all. Our Programs focus on: Immigration Legal Assistance Migrant Outreach Combating Human Trafficking Leadership Development Policy-Advocacy Welcoming Colorado

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Western Colorado Immigrant Relief Fund

Class

Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Ethnic/Racial Minorities
Families
Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges

Description

The Hispanic Affairs Project launched the Western Colorado Immigrant Relief Fund in late March 2020 to provide direct assistance to undocumented immigrant families impacted by the loss of employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The purpose of this fund is to help families who do not qualify for state and federal assistance due to their immigration status. At this time, assistance is focused on residents living in the six county region served by HAP including Delta, Gunnison, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties.

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Evidence of Program's Success

- HAP has provided emergency assistance to over 40 families in the form of rent and utility payments, food assistance and medical supplies. We will continue to distribute emergency assistance as long as there is a need and funding available.
- HAP partnered with the Left Behind Workers Fund which provided cash grants to undocumented workers, and we have been able to connect over 90 individuals with emergency assistance through this program.
- In addition, we have been collaborating with community partners to connect immigrant families with local resources, sharing timely information and resources in Spanish reaching over 1,200 families from across the region, and have spent hundreds of hours helping community members navigate local support systems to receive the help they need during the pandemic.

Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Prevention

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Crime/Abuse Victims
Ethnic/Racial Minorities
Families
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges
Migrant Workers

Description

As part of HAP's Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Education & Prevention work, we support victims by accompanying them through the process of receiving assistance from local partners with program specifically for victims. Our community advocates work to empower those who have suffered from these experiences, and connect survivors to the resources they need to move forward with their lives. We aim to end the silence surrounding these issues, and minimize violence in our communities through educational programming and support groups.

HAP members recommended this program after identifying an increasing incidence of law enforcement contact with immigrant neighborhoods due to domestic violence. HAP supports victims of crime to collaborate with law enforcement, meanwhile victims receive assistance for legal protections through support from local social service agencies.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Through HAP's efforts, we have achieved the following:
- 650 households have received information and education about sexual assault and domestic violence in culturally appropriate format in Spanish.
- HAP provided support and guidance to 15 victims to connect them with sexual assault/domestic violence and mental health services.
- 10 victims of domestic violence/sexual assault have received immigration protection through HAP's immigration legal assistance program.

Pro Immigrant Policies

Class

Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy 

Beneficiaries

Families
Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees
Migrant Workers
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges
Migrant Workers

Description

HAP continues to organize the immigrant and ally communities to advocate for local, state, and federal policies that positively impact immigrants in Colorado. As a member of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) HAP supports ongoing priority campaigns prioritized by our community groups that protect immigrant families. HAP has been involved in many statewide campaigns such as the I Drive Colorado to provide access to a driver's license for undocumented CO residents, the Campaign to Unite Colorado to limit ICE collaboration with local law enforcement, and the ASSET campaign to pass legislation that allows undocumented high school students access to in-state tuition.

On the local level, HAP leaders work with local government and other community partners to advocate for inclusive local policies that positively impact all in our communities.

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Evidence of Program's Success

A few examples of our Policy-Advocacy efforts include:
- Participation in the state COVID-19 Health Equity Response Team focused on providing guidance to public agencies to ensure that communities of color receive emergency assistance during the pandemic.
- Over 600 immigrant leaders have been involved with HAP's work to support statewide policy campaigns since 2006.
- Important state legislative victories that HAP has contributed to include:
* Providing testimony for the Immigration Consultants Deceptive Trade Practice bill
passed in 2016 to crack down on individuals for the unauthorized practice of law who
are taking advantage of immigrants in need of legal assistance.
* Passage of ASSET legislation providing in-state tuition access to undocumented
Colorado high school graduates
* Passage of SB 251 Colorado Road and Community Safety Act granting access to a
special Colorado driver's license to undocumented residents. Since then HAP has
supported statewide efforts to fix the program and expand the number of offices in
the state from three to 11 offices across the state.
* Repeal of SB90, Colorado's "show me your papers" law which required law
enforcement to report anyone suspected of unlawful presence to Immigration and
Customs Enforcement.

Combating Human Trafficking

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Crime/Abuse Victims
Ethnic/Racial Minorities - Other Specified
Hispanics
Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees
Migrant Workers

Description

HAP educates the immigrant community in efforts to prevent cases of human trafficking, especially labor trafficking cases, which have been identified in rural areas in western Colorado. HAP is consistently helping potential victims of trafficking and expanding collaboration with law enforcement, social services agencies, and elected officials to achieve state and federal policies to eradicate this problem in the US.

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Evidence of Program's Success

- HAP helped organize the Western Slope Anti-Trafficking (WSAT), a group of regional organizations focused on raising awareness about human trafficking.
- HAP's Board President was appointed to the state Colorado Human Trafficking Council to advocate for policies that enhance human trafficking prevention in Colorado.
- HAP is recognized by local law enforcement and other federal agencies working on human trafficking in western Colorado. Several cases of labor trafficking have been identified by HAP; and the organization has trained leaders to facilitate informative sessions and training to other community members.

Leadership Development & Advocacy

Class

Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy 

Beneficiaries

Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General
Families
Hispanics
Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges

Description

HAP works to develop the voice of the immigrant community by strengthening leadership capacity through local organizing opportunities. This strategy is implemented through the local Hispanic Committees (Grand Junction, Montrose and Gunnison) by providing leadership development, community organizing, resources and capacity-building. This program includes also community education, implementing pro-immigrant policies, and immigrant integration initiatives in collaboration with many other organizations and agencies in the region.

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Evidence of Program's Success

At the start of 2018, HAP launched its Cultivating Communities/Cultivando Comunidades leadership and capacity building program focused on building the capacity and leadership of first-generation immigrant families. The program has achieved the following:
- Monthly women's night activities focused on building community with 25 women
- 3 Leadership retreats with 30 participants
- 12 Focus groups/house meetings to better understand the current situation of immigrant families in the region
- Reached 100 community members with education and training to help broaden understanding of the political system, civics and other key areas to develop capacity for active participation in the community.

Since launching this program, we have seen a significant increase in participation from women and the immigrant community overall in our programming and community events. This work has helped us ensure that our efforts are being led by the community and that we are working on issues identified as priorities by the community.

Immigration Legal Assistance

Class

Community Development 

Beneficiaries

Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General
Hispanics
Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees
Migrant Workers
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges

Description

HAP's Immigration Legal Assistance program was established in 2015 to provide qualified legal representation with immigration applications for immigrants who cannot afford legal fees and navigate the complex immigration system. Immigrants can become eligible or ineligible for legal status due to changed circumstances in their lives over time or due to changes in the immigration laws and policy. HAP sought recognition and accreditation from the Office of Legal Access Programs in the Department of Justice and since 2015 has helped and represented hundreds of low-income families and individuals with their immigration cases. Our services include family-based petitions (adjustment of status and consular processing), naturalization applications, DACA work authorizations, renewals of legal permanent residency, FOIAs and visas for victims of crime such as U visas and VAWAs.

HAP is a part of New Americans Campaign (NAC), a nation-wide initiative to help permanent residents obtain citizenship. HAP hosts monthly citizenship clinics in Montrose and Grand Junction, assists with USCIS naturalization ceremonies in Grand Junction and provides legal representation to naturalization clients.

Immigration law is very complex and it can be incomprehensible for undocumented persons with complicated migration histories. HAP has participated in immigration legal screenings for undocumented Mexican immigrants in collaboration with CLINIC and the Mexican consulate and has completed around 100 screenings in the last two years.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Immigration Legal Assistance by the Numbers 2019:
- HAP represented 122 individuals in their immigration applications before the US Citizenship and Immigration Services including naturalization applications, Deferral Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) renewals, permanent residency applications, renewal of employment authorization, U-visas (victims of crime) and VAWA visas (violence against women victims). 45 individuals assisted with the applications for naturalization.
- Additionally, HAP provided legal in-take consultations to 114 individuals.
- 65 people received legal advice and/or referral in their immigration questions.
- Monthly citizenship workshops to provide information and assistance to eligible lawful permanent residents interested in applying for naturalization.

Welcoming Colorado Initiative

Class

Community Development 

Beneficiaries

Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General
General Public
Immigrants/Newcomers/Refugees
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges
Migrant Workers

Description

Building more inclusive and welcoming communities for all members of the community is an important part of immigrant integration. Transforming public dialogue on immigration through relationship building, community education, and organizational communications are some ways in which HAP works to change the atmosphere for immigrant families. We partner with local groups to create safe spaces to discuss the important roles of immigrants in the United States, and for immigrants and non-immigrants alike to come together, break bread, and build connections.

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Evidence of Program's Success

I- n 2014, HAP, together with Mesa County law enforcement agencies created the Law Enforcement Latin Alliance (LELA), to create a space for improving communication between local law enforcement and minority groups.
- In collaboration with the Grand Junction Police Department, HAP supported the development of an annual Latino Citizen Police Academy starting in 2018 and with the Montrose Police Department in 2020.
- Annual collaboration with local officials from Montrose, Grand Junction, Gunnison and Ouray to create proclamations that recognize the cultural and economic contribution of immigrants and migrants in these communities.
- Organized multicultural celebrations, potlucks and films-dialogues to build a better understanding about immigrants and immigration in the way that diversity is celebrated and immigrants feel safe to be part of public activities.

Migrant Outreach

Class

Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy 

Beneficiaries

Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General
Hispanics
Male Adults
Migrant Workers
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged

Description

During the harvest season, Western Colorado receives hundreds of migrant workers, but there also are many families working in agriculture throughout the year. With the support of faith communities and allies, HAP members visit these families with information about labor rights, food, clothing and basic supplies. Through participation in the Western Colorado Migrant and Rural Coalition, HAP supports outreach events during the growing season to provide medical screenings, information and resources to temporary H2A visa foreign workers who come to the region to harvest local crops. Our offices provide information about legal assistance for wage theft, complaints against discrimination in the work place, and Colorado labor laws. HAP continues to advocate for H2A-visa range worker rights through public education, earned media, and expanding federal policies regarding worker rights.

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Evidence of Program's Success

- After receiving pressure from HAP in a federal court in 2017, the US Department of Labor (DOL) hastened to increase the salary of the H2A workers in the sheep herding industry. As of November 2016, more than 1,600 workers in Colorado and other states achieved an increase in salary of $1200 after 50 years of a stagnant $750 monthly salary.
- In 2019, the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia in Washington DC, ruled in favor of HAP's complaint to make changes to the DOL/DHS H2A-Range workers regulations dating back to 1965. The goal is for sheepherders to have access ti better immigration protections that are similar to other visa worker programs. In this case, workers are now entitled to receive standard labor provisions and eventually permanent residency. HAP efforts have brought justice to hundreds of workers not only in Colorado but across the country and the new regulations are being implemented in 2020.

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