- Massive open-borders coalition created by the Center for Community Change
- Employs a “social media infrastructure” key to the new progressive movement
Although it gives no indication of its organizational structure on its website, Reform Immigration For America (RI4A) is the open-borders coalition of the Campaign for Community Change, which is the action center of the Center for Community Change (CCC). RI4A is part of CCC’s tripartite coalition framework, which also includes Health Care for America Now! and Jobs for America Now. RIFA is also a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund, which is affiliated with the Tides Center (though it is a legally separate entity).
RI4A’s chief objective is “to win 218 votes in the House of Representatives, 60 votes in the Senate, and one signature from the President” in order to achieve the goals of the open-borders lobby.
Nicola Wells and Marissa Graciosa, two organizers of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, first conceived of RI4A as an immigration “stealth strategy” — a way in which “the progressives and the legal immigration advocates” could “master outreach to [a] multilingual audience, largely living in secret, many of whom are without access to mainstream technology for resources and news.” By using “social media,” particularly cell phone banks and message texting, RI4A was designed to “overcome class and culture barriers” so as to organize a widespread movement that could simultaneously draw from individuals “deep in communities” who would not otherwise take part in progressive causes.
Wells outlined how such a “social media infrastructure” serves three purposes:
1) “To generate and promote pro-migrant content, not only created by FIRM, but by our partner organizations and allies across the country; more broadly to be a productive part of the pro-migrant blogosphere that is growing stronger each day.”
2) “To create learning tools for our partner organizations. Our partners may not be able to jumpstart using these tools on their own, and by engaging in FIRM’s tools they can learn about social media, take test runs, and figure out what will eventually work best for them.”
3) “To connect with individuals / organizations outside of our current network that are in the fight for immigrant rights — support their work, or create collaborations with them.”
RI4A – as well as its sister coalitions – demonstrates how effective such a strategy of collaboration can be. Where CCC and FIRM organizers set up RIFA’s infrastructure, now all the coalition members have access to its resources. As a result, the coalition has grown into a massive assortment of hundreds of groups. Under the umbrella of RI4A, mainstream liberal groups like the Bill Clinton Foundation for Peace campaign side-by-side with state and local affiliates of hundreds of the most powerful, influential and radical organizations in the United States. Some of these are:
- American Civil Liberties Union
- American Federation of Teachers
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
- Anti-Defamation League
- Border Action Network
- Center for American Progress
- Center for Community Change
- Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
- Code Pink
- Council on American-Islamic Relations
- Gamaliel Foundation
- Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center
- LatinoJustice PRLDF
- League of United Latin American Citizens
- Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
- Mennonite Central Committee
- Mexican-American Coalition for Immigration Reform
- Muslim American Society-Freedom
- Muslim Public Affairs Council
- National Council of La Raza
- National Education Association
- National Immigration Forum
- National Immigration Law Center
- New Sanctuary Movement
- 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women
- Organizing For America
- Pax Christi
- People for the American Way
- Progressive Democrats of America
- Progressive States Network
- Service Employees International Union
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- Students for a Democratic Society
- UNITE HERE!
- Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
In 2009, Rachel LaBruyere, former Communications Director of FIRM and author of its blog, became RI4A’s Deputy Director of Online Communications. Throughout that year, she oversaw a number of phone and fax campaigns where RI4A sent out text messages persuading (successfully) tens of thousands of activists to contact the White House and Congress to express their support for, or opposition to, particular immigration policies.
In the 2010 May Day demonstrations that were held throughout the United States, RIF4 was instrumental in drawing over half a million people to protest “[Arizona’s new racial profiling law” and to call for comprehensive immigration reform.