Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition

PA is Ready! Creates Vision for Expanding Community-Led Immigration Services in PA

Oct 2 2019    PICC Blog

PA is Ready! strives to be an adaptive, well-coordinated Pennsylvania statewide network of organizations – rooted in and serving diverse immigrant and refugee communities – that is equipped to: Make legal and other immigration services accessible; Build power, organizational capacity, and the leadership of immigrant community members; and Address community-identified needs and root causes in the long term.Network members are united in working toward a Pennsylvania where immigrant communities have the skills and resources necessary for building safe and welcoming communities that promote all resident’s well-being.

After three years of grantmaking, partnerships, and projects, PA is Ready! took time to look back on its accomplishments and what it learned. This evaluation process served as the basis for PA is Ready! to create a 5-year vision that will guide its work through 2025. Over the next five years, PA is Ready! will focus on funding projects that are furthering five primary goals:

  • Immigrant communities are fully informed of their rights
  • Immigrant and refugee communities across the state have access to legal and other services necessary for obtaining citizenship, identifying opportunities for adjusting immigration status, and applying for available forms of relief.
  • Legal support is widely available to organizing campaigns
  • All immigrants in detention have access to full legal representation & resources to leave detention
  • Immigrant and refugee communities are actively engaged in civic life at the local and state levels, including voting, educating lawmakers, and leading immigrant-serving organizations

Recognizing that the work of network partners is critical for their communities, PA is Ready! decided to extend 2018 grants for an additional year and offer mini grants to ensure network partners could continue their work through this evaluation and reflection process.

Community Safety Grant recipients and Strategic Legal Partners will continue to implement a coordinated, community-based response to heightened immigration enforcement that aims to educate community members and allies about immigrant rights, support for immigrant neighbors, and building immigrant leadership and organizing strength. Collaborative Projects continue to work to increase access to legal information and services in their communities.

The 2019 Mini Grants will support projects providing know your rights education to plan for custody and child protection in case of deportation, educate the Southeast Asian community about pardon and post-conviction relief to stop deportations, and provide information sessions and legal clinics at citizenship classes. These project will be led by:

  • Centro de Apoyo Comunitario and University of Pennsylvania School of Law Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic
  • Free Migration Project and VietLead
  • Welcoming the Stranger and HIAS Pennsylvania

Beginning in 2020, PA is Ready! funding will be based on the framework below. This framework will be reviewed annually and updated to respond to changing policies and community needs. PA is Ready! will continue to use a collaborative grantmaking process led by immigrant-serving organizations to make all funding decision.

  • Leadership Development and Organizational Capacity Building: Develop active leaders within immigrant and refugee communities and build strong organizations that can serve as vehicles for communities to be able to exercise their collective power to make systemic changes and ensure access to the types of services needed to promote collective well-being.
  • Community-Based Immigration Services: Build statewide capacity to provide immigration assistance through community-led, collaborative projects that increase access to needed services in immigrant communities.
  • Enforcement Resistance: Build statewide capacity to engage in community-based responses to protect and defend immigrant and refugee communities from increased immigration enforcement through collaborative projects that respond to increased ICE enforcement and criminalization of immigrant and refugee communities.
  • Pennsylvania Immigrant Family Unity Project (PAIFUP): Universal representation pilot project at the York Detention Center. Grants administered by the Vera Institute.

PA is Ready! would not be possible without the continued support of our funding partner, the Philadelphia Foundation, and our local and national donors:  Alfred and Mary Douty Foundation, Claneil Foundation, JPB Foundation, Lancaster County Community Foundation, Patricia Kind Family Foundation, S. Albert Fund, Samuel S. Fels Fund, the Ford Foundation, and Open Society Foundations.

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