- A leader in organizing demonstrations and rallies to support open borders
- Part of the We Are America Alliance and closely affiliated with the Center for Community Change
Founded in 2002, the National Capital Immigration Coalition (NCIC) is a prominent open-borders alliance whose 31 member groups include, among others, the American Friends Service Committee, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and UNITE HERE!.
NCIC is closely aligned with the Deepak Bhargava-headed Center for Community Change (CCC) and its network of organizations. Specifically, NCIC serves on the Immigrant Organizing Committee, which is the governing body of the CCC’s open-borders arm, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). In addition, NCIC and CCC both participate in the We Are America Alliance (WAAA), a network that has organized nationally coordinated demonstrations for amnesty for illegal aliens and conducted voter registration campaigns in support of Democratic candidates during the 2008 elections.
NCIC has also partnered with the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, the National Council of La Raza, and the National Immigration Forum. Moreover, NCIC is a grantee of the Four Freedoms Fund, which is, in turn, bankrolled by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society Institute, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Calling for a greater degree of “social and economic justice” in the United States, NCIC expresses its support for open borders and progressive principles by doing the following:
“Organizing immigrant communities for comprehensive immigration reform”;
“Increasing the number of supporters that vote for progressive policies and representatives that advance their interests”;
“Defending against attacks, hate crimes and challenging policies that have an adverse impact on immigrants, including abusive police enforcement, raids, mass incarceration, deportations and other anti-immigrant state or local ordinances”;
- “Building alliances with non-immigrant communities to work together in favor of pro-immigrant policies and against all forms of racism and bigotry.”
In 2006 NCIC and its fellow WAAA members organized massive demonstrations across the United States, calling for expanded rights (and amnesty) for illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. While then-President Bush was proposing a newly enanced border-enforcement strategy, Juan Carlos Ruiz, NCIC’s General Coordinator (who also co-founded the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City in 2007) said: “Militarizing the border is not a solution to the problem. We believe that militarizing the border is a propaganda tool.”
During the 2008 presidential election season, NCIC supported Barack Obama’s successful bid for the White House. A few days after the election, NCIC and FIRM jointly announced their plan to hold two huge rallies in honor of the new President. “The immigrant community found its voice, its place in this election and we helped elect someone who represents our hopes and our dreams,” declared NCIC President Jessica Alvarez.
NCIC’s support for President Obama grew strained by January of 2010, however. Complaining that Obama had not yet pushed immigration reform agressively enough, Gustavo Torres (Co-Chair and President of NCIC’s Board of Directors) helped organize a protest outside the national headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security. “The administration’s missteps in conceding advantage to a wildly unrepresentative far-right fringe is producing real anger among many people that heralded the 2008 election,” Torres warned.
On March 11, 2010, Torres, along with a dozen other activist leaders, met with President Obama to urge him to push immigration reform and to put an end to workplace raids and deportations. A day later, Torres led a rally outside the White House again protesting the administration’s lack of action.
Torres also helped organize a March 21 immigration rally that drew more than 200,000 participants to the National Mall in Washington. The President delivered a video address to the crowd, promising to work towards immigration reform. Speaking before the demonstrators, Torres responded and declared that the support of his coalition was conditional: “President Obama, stop pointing fingers at the Congress. You have the power, and if you fail to deliver, we will hold you accountable.”
At a District of Columbia rally on May Day, 2010, Torres and NCIC joined many fellow leftists in denouncing a new Arizona law that authorized state police to crack down on illegal immigrants. In a bid to garner attention, Torres sat along the black wrought-iron fence in front of the White House and was arrested. Among the others arrested with him were Deepak Bhargava of the CCC; Gregory Cendana, President of the United States Student Association; Jaime Contreras of the SEIU; Congressman Luis Gutierrez; Joshua Hoyt, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; and Ali Noorani, Chairman of Reform Immigration for America and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. Gutierrez spoke for them: “There are moments in which you say, ‘We will escalate this struggle’ […] Today they will put handcuffs on us. But one day we will be free at last in the country we love.”