The Trump administration’s deportation machine and family separation policy has caused Latinos and immigrants across the country to live in fear. In 2018, Trump’s attacks on Latinos and immigrants reached a boiling point as families were being separated and detained at the border, with no guarantee that they would be reunited.
UnidosUS ensured our community was being protected, advocating at the national and state levels and partnering on the ground with our Affiliates to build up their capacity to provide immigration legal services.
It’s clear these damaging policies have made life at the border harder, and more dangerous. There are thousands of people living in the colonias of Southern Texas, small, unincorporated towns often just a few blocks from the U.S.–Mexico border, which reflect the daily reality of life at the border.
The colonias sometimes lack the infrastructure that other American towns take for granted. It’s easy for people to feel powerless, but organizations like our Affiliate La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) are making sure that these communities are empowered and protected.
Since its founding in 1989 by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, LUPE has brought neighbors together to fight for what they need from their towns. Under the Trump administration, this work has become especially difficult.
“The community that is coming together to win improvements for the neighborhoods are also being separated,” says John-Michael Torres, LUPE’s Communications Coordinator. Many of the people LUPE works with are undocumented, and the organization works tirelessly to help them.
Thanks to a Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law course offered to UnidosUS Affiliates at the beginning of 2018, LUPE’s staff was able to learn core immigration law concepts and the practice-skills necessary to be an effective advocate of our community.
The course gave LUPE staff the opportunity to become accredited immigration legal service providers. This helped them assist people in their community to understand their rights in the United States, and possible paths to documentation.
The residents of the colonias don’t allow fear to stop them, and LUPE’s offices continue to be well-attended. Sanchez attributes this to the fact that LUPE’s work resonates with the values of the communities they work in.
“They don’t let fear control their lives,” says Martha Sanchez, LUPE’s organizing coordinator. “They deal with it, and they don’t let it control them.”
Little by little, LUPE is helping hundreds of people step out of the shadows and realize the power and strength that lies in unity.