310 8th Street - Suite 303
Phone :(510) 465-1984 Fax :(510) 465-1885 Email : email@example.com URL: Website
Immigrant rights organization that advocates increased welfare benefits for immigrants
Headquartered in Oakland, California, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) describes itself as “a national organization composed of local coalitions and immigrant, refugee, community, religious, civil rights and labor organizations and activists.” Its mission is manifold: to serve as a networking forum for activist groups; to "educate" the public on immigration issues; to develop and coordinate "plans of action on important immigrant and refugee issues"; to "promote a just immigration and refugee policy in the United States"; to "defend and expand the rights of all immigrants and refugees, regardless of immigration status"; and to work for "the enfranchisement of all immigrant and refugee communities in the United States."
NNIRR was founded in 1986 by activists opposed to the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) which was passed that same year. (In particular, the Network objected to an IRCA provision for sanctions against employers who knowingly hired illegal aliens.)
Disapproving any reductions in government benefits for impoverished immigrants, NNIRR has assessed negatively the 1996 passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, legislation that moved more than 2 million Americans off the welfare rolls and into jobs. Says the Network: "The 1996 welfare legislation in the U.S. especially undermined the economic well-being of poor immigrant women and their families by eliminating or undercutting access to benefit programs for those in need."
NNIRR calls for amnesty (which it terms a "Legalization Program") for all illegal aliens, to whom it refers as “undocumented immigrants”; the Network's literature eschews the word “illegal.” “We need a comprehensive program that allows undocumented immigrants from all nationalities and living in the U.S. to obtain legal permanent residency,” says NNIRR. “Immigrants should be able to adjust their status and reunite with families in a fair and timely way. ... There should be an end to unfair political asylum and deportation processes and other barriers to acquiring and maintaining permanent residency.” Advocating the abolition of virtually all restrictions on immigration, NNIRR asserts: “Future immigrants should also be able to come here legally and safely, have access to permanent residency, and not fear criminal prosecution for unlawful entry or exit.”
In NNIRR's calculus, “Immigrant workers’ rights should be promoted and protected; employer sanctions and the criminalization of work must be ended. Labor laws should be strictly enforced, and immigrant workers should have the freedom to join unions to improve wages and working conditions.” Moreover, says the Network, “All immigrants should have access to all public services and benefits including driver licenses, higher education, and health care.” (The foregoing assertions refer to anyone who has broken U.S. immigration laws to gain entry to the country.)
Three days after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, NNIRR lamented that in an allegedly racist America, "certain groups, particularly in the Arab and Muslim communities, are already experiencing incidents of harassment or violence. Such retaliatory activity is clearly wrong and should not be tolerated." At the end of September 2001, NNIRR released its report From the Borderline to the Colorline: A Report on Anti-Immigrant Racism in the United States,which called on the U.S. government to "affirm the right of workers to cross international borders" and to "demilitarize the U.S.-Mexico border to end law enforcement and human rights abuses."
Claiming "multiple roots stretching back to the 1960s movements for civil rights, racial justice, farm workers unions, student rights, and peace," NNIRR takes positions on numerous issues in addition to immigration.
For example, when the U.S. repelled the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991, the Network condemned America’s “brutal military assault on Iraq,” characterizing it as a “dispute over control of oil fields.” Echoing calls of “No Blood for Oil,” NNIRR predicted that “the U.S. war on Iraq” would “unleas[h] immigration-related repression.”
The lead editorial in the Fall-Winter 2002/2003 issue of the NNIRR newsletter argued that "U.S. militarism is racism raised to an extreme." Added the piece: "Look at the post-World War II history of U.S. 'interventions' -- a diplomatic word for actions that range from helping overthrow legitimate governments to direct military attacks on governments that inconvenience U.S. interests -- stretching from Latin America to the Pacific Island, Asia and Africa, all lands of color."
The Network takes an equally dim view of America's closest Middle Eastern ally, Israel. With no explicit mention of the ongoing Palestinian terrorist campaign against Israeli civilians, NNIRR in April 2002 issued a press release "condemning the escalation of violence in the region, and in particular, the violation of human rights of the Palestinian people by Israeli military forces." Moreover, it exhorted the U.S. government to support UN Security Council Resolution 1402, which demanded Israel's swift withdrawal of all military troops from Palestinian-controlled areas.
NNIRR's Executive Director is Catherine Tactaquin, who co-founded the organization. Tactaquin also sits on the Executive Committee of the Geneva-based Migrant Rights International.