History and Accomplishments
The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) is a statewide, membership-based coalition of immigrant, faith, labor, youth, community, business and ally organizations founded in 2002 to improve the lives of immigrants and refugees by making Colorado a more welcoming, immigrant-friendly state. CIRC achieves this mission through non-partisan civic engagement, public education, and advocating for workable, fair and humane immigration policies.
History and Program Areas
CIRC has worked vigorously to achieve citizenship for the undocumented, to protect civil liberties and rights of immigrant workers and families, and for a full integration of immigrants into community life in the U.S. CIRC has emerged as a reliable and factual source on immigration for policymakers, educators and the media. CIRC’s organizing goals in 2011-2012 include:
• Base Building and Regional Organizing to support and coordinate local, regional organizing, civic engagement, communications, capacity building and connect to state and national movement building:
o West Region: Karen Sherman Perez, 970-249-4115; firstname.lastname@example.org
o Mountain Region: Brendan Greene, 303-922-3344, x3; email@example.com
o North Region: Sonia Marquez 720-404-2551; firstname.lastname@example.org
o South Region: Daneya Esgar, 719-248-8262; email@example.com
o Denver-Metro: Julie Gonzales, 720-891-2712; firstname.lastname@example.org
• Policy Advocacy to pass policies at state and federal level to improve the lives of immigrants and refugees. Staff contact: Julie Gonzales, Organizing Director; 720-891-2712; email@example.com. For immigration policy and legal analysis and expertise, Hans Meyer, Legal and Policy Director; (303) 922-3344, x2; firstname.lastname@example.org
• Communications to reach Coloradans with CIRC’s fact-based, pro-immigrant stance through media and public education. Staff contact: Alan Kaplan, Communications Director; (917) 776-2388; email@example.com.
• Welcoming Colorado Initiative to lead a more respectful, balanced public dialogue around immigrant integration: Karen Sherman Perez, Western Slope Organizer, 970-249-4115, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Civic Engagement to increase immigrant civic participation and support member organizations in launching naturalization and non-partisan voter programs. Alan Kaplan, Civic Engagement and Communications Director; (917) 776-2388; email@example.com.
• Organizational Development to ensure that CIRC and its member organizations have long-term financial stability and sustainability. For more information or to get involved, please contact: Julien Ross, Executive Director; (303) 922-3344, x101; firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Helped organize Denver’s 2006, 2007 and 2010 "mega-marches" calling on the U.S. Congress to pass fair and humane immigration reform, with over 75,000, 15,000 and 10,000 participants respectively.
• Formed Rapid Response Team to act against nine raids since 2006.
• Hosted five statewide annual conferences to engage our statewide membership and build capacity of immigrant leaders throughout Colorado.
• Member of Executive Committee of FIRM (Fair Immigration Reform Movement) and the Colorado host for Reform Immigration FOR America.
• Member of Engage Colorado and West Slope non-partisan civic engagement campaigns to contact over 1 million Colorado voters and mobilize 104,000 voters, which led to the defeat of 6 harmful state ballot initiatives in 2010.
• Led campaigns to defeat Vehicle Impound initiatives in Denver in 2009 and in Lakewood in 2010 and organized campaign to prevent anti-immigrant Initiative 55 from ballot status in 2006.
• Co-founded the "Ya Es Hora Colorado" citizenship campaign, assisting over 2,000 legal permanent residents to become United States citizens since 2007.
• Since 2007, CIRC’s member organizations have collectively registered over 175,000 new voters.
• Established formal advocacy presence during the Colorado Legislature in 2008, defeating all anti-immigrant bills in the ’08, ’09, and ’10 legislative sessions and passing Consent to Search legislation to expand civil liberties of Coloradans in 2010.
• Sponsored 26 delegation trips to Washington, D.C. to advocate for immigration reform between 2007 and 2011.
• Co-founded the Colorado Wage Theft Task Force and improved the Colorado Department of Labor's wage enforcement "wage theft" policy.
• Founded the Welcoming Colorado Initiative in 2008 to lead a more respectful, balanced public dialogue around immigrant integration: http://welcomingcolorado.org
• Increased media presence in Colorado by 250% in 2010.
Through membership in several alliances, CIRC engages in the national immigrant rights movement and links member organizations to additional resources:
• Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), member of FIRM Executive Committee
• Reform Immigration FOR America, hub for RIFA campaign in Colorado
• United We DREAM Coalition
• National Immigration Forum
• Center for Community Change
• Detention Watch Network
• Interfaith Worker Justice
• Rights Working Group
• Ya Es Hora ˇCiudadania!