Center for New Community (CNC)

Center for New Community (CNC)


* Pro-immigration reform organization 
* Characterizes those who seek to enforce existing immigration laws as members of a “nativist, anti-immigrant movement” that seeks to “undermine democratic community”

A group of religious leaders and community organizers established the Center for New Community (CNC) in 1995 to address America’s “most intractable social, economic, and racial injustices” on the local, state, and national levels. Partnering with likeminded groups in more than twenty U.S. states, CNC uses “strategic research, education, training, and organizing” to combat what it terms the “nativist, anti-immigrant movement” that seeks to “undermine democratic community” by enforcing America’s existing immigration laws. This hateful movement, CNC charges, “evolved out of the eugenics programs [that were] widespread throughout the United States during the first half of the 20th century.”

In 2010, CNC condemned the Arizona legislature’s passage of SB 1070, a bill deputizing state police to check with federal authorities on the immigration status of criminal suspects whose behavior or circumstances seemed to suggest that they might be in the United States illegally. According to CNC’s national field director, Eric Ward, SB 1070 and similar laws enacted in other states “are meant as a strategy of attrition against immigrants—that makes life so unbearable that people start to self deport.”

In early 2013, CNC spokesman Aaron Flanagan characterized protests by groups opposing the hiring of illegal day laborers as heartless “attacks” that were part of a larger effort, on both the “legislative and grassroots” levels, “to limit the ability [of] all immigrants, both documented and undocumented, to seek work.” “It is a material manifestation of the doctrine of self-deportation, or attrition through enforcement,” said Flanagan.

The centerpiece of CNC’s immigration work is its “Defending Democracy” Program, which seeks to broadly disseminate condemnations of “the nativist movement”—as typified by laws like SB 1070—via print, radio, television, and electronic media. Among this program’s preferred media organs are Mother Jones magazine and The New York Times.

Other CNC programs include:

  • the Race, Migration & Environment Initiative, which “counters racism within the environmental movement by advancing inclusive dialogues on population and immigration”;
  • the State Advocacy Initiative, which “supports and strengthens the coalitions dedicated to the civil rights of immigrants and communities of color” in North Carolina and Colorado;
  • the Turn It Down Campaign, which “provides communities with the tools and information they need to halt the growth of white power music”—i.e., music that promotes white nationalism and expresses racism against nonwhites;
  • campus and student-organizing projects designed to cultivate “a new generation of activists engaged in anti-racism work”;
  • collaborations with artist communities, designed to “counte[r] racist movements and promot[e] creative resistance”;
  • initiatives to “comba[t] efforts by racist groups to divide African-descent and Latino/a immigrant communities”; and
  • a blog that helps to inform and mobilize more than 10,000 readers per month.

CNC has received grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (here), the Ford Foundation (here), and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (here).

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