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One of the paradoxes at the center of the struggle for immigrant rights in the United States is that while immigration law and policy is made at the national level, most of the impacts of those laws occur at the local level. Politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, DC, negotiate and renegotiate a statutory framework that includes some and excludes others, and design and redesign a police apparatus to enforce the framework. Meanwhile, in towns and cities across the country, immigrants and the neighborhoods they are part of experience firsthand the difficult realities of trying to live, work, take care of a family, and participate in community within a set of legal structures that do not always protect their basic rights and freedoms.
American democracy is at a crossroads. To deliver on the promise of a representative inclusive democracy our electoral system must provide every American the opportunity to meaningfully participate and make their voice heard in our democracy. That starts by guaranteeing that every eligible person has the ability to register and cast a ballot that is counted. However more than a decade of attacks on voting rights and democratic participation - from Shelby County v. Holder to restrictive state voter ID laws - have undermined these core principles of representative democracy and have eroded the political participation of ordinary citizens and the Rising American Electorate.
Organizers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and North Carolina conducted interviews with over 900 Latinx immigrants (including nearly 400 undocumented community members) about the important issues facing immigrant communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This infographic features snippets of the stories shared; common themes include financial hardship and illness, compounded by a lack of government support.
Data shows that most Americans who are registered to vote cast a ballot on Election Day. Cities and counties can address the problem of declining voter engagement, exacerbated by barriers to voter registration, through increasing registration in their jurisdictions with city and county agency-based voter registration. With this reform, designated local agencies offer eligible residents the opportunity to register to vote when applying for other services—for example, through agencies that provide human and social services, affordable housing, and health programs, among others. This report outlines resources for reform, and provides a model ordinance and key talking points for local agency voter registration.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread unemployment, millions of Americans are facing eviction, or are taking on unsustainable debt, dipping into savings, and cutting food and medications to afford rent. The federal government must make housing policy central to any COVID-19 relief package; this involves instituting a national eviction moratorium that bars evictions and foreclosures, forgiving rent for all renters, and mortgage payments for all homeowners, affordable housing providers, and small landlords, allocating rental relief payments to small landlords and affordable housing providers who comply with renter protections, and more, till the end of the pandemic.
This policy brief discusses the problem of lower voter turnout in municipal and county elections. The brief discusses possible causes for this issue such as low voter engagement, a lack of community grounding, and the absence of viable political options. The brief proposes solutions to this problem including the enfranchisement of new voters and the public finance of local elections.
This report articulates young people’s mandate to their government—local, state, and federal—to permanently end the school-to-prison-and-deportation pipeline and build a liberatory education system based on principles of inclusion, equity and racial justice. The key points of the mandate including demands to fund education, not incarceration (end federal funding for police in schools, support a pipeline to college and eliminate barriers to higher education), restore and strengthen the civil rights of young people (fund civil rights offices that uphold the rights of young people, support maximum local democratic control of the education system), and end the private takeover of schools (end funding for charter schools, fund traditional public schools).
There is evidence that placing law enforcement in schools increases referrals to the criminal legal system. The presence of law enforcement makes it more likely that students of color will be arrested for low-level offenses, and increases the formal processing of exclusionary disciplinary responses. This report outlines the results of a survey conducted to reveal students’ experiences, interactions, and feelings about police and security at school, and their vision for supportive and well-resourced schools. Results show that police and security at schools do not make students feel safe, and that students value more support and resources over police and security. This report also features transformative, anti-racist policies that would dismantle the school-to-prison-and-deportation pipeline and guides school districts towards more inclusive learning environments.
While Connecticut’s working families are struggling with low wages, threats of eviction, food instability, lack of affordable health care, and high levels of unemployment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Connecticut’s wealthiest residents have amassed unprecedented wealth. In response to the state’s high rates of income inequality and extreme wealth gaps, Connecticut must adopt an equitable state budget that repairs the regressive tax structure by requiring billionaires to pay their fair share, invest in key programs and services to aid struggling communities, and take major steps towards eliminating racial and economic disparities.
Connecticut’s Latinx and immigrant communities are being disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Make the Road Connecticut (MRCT) launched an impact survey to more fully understand key issues facing people of color and immigrants related to employment, housing, health, and economic security during the pandemic. The survey findings reveal widespread financial instability and hardship among Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents. Additionally, this report includes recommendations at the federal, state, and local level that policymakers must take to provide economic relief and protections for workers, keep community members in their homes, and ensure access to healthcare regardless of legal status.