Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario, an immigration advocacy group in Oregon, has been working to reach out to and prepare the estimated 60,000 DAPA and DACA+ eligible immigrants in Oregon through frequent community forums all over the state.
Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario has been busy planning for and educating people on DAPA and DACA+ since before the programs were even announced. The organization, in partnership with Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Lutheran, and Evangelical churches, organized regular community forums at churches in Oregon. Voz Hispana has also held these forums at public schools throughout the state. This work was done in collaboration with volunteer immigration attorneys and led to a total of twenty-five community forums to date. The goal of these forums has been to prepare people for the decision, teach them how to avoid fraud, and bring accurate information on the steps of the program to the community.
As an immediate response to the decision, Voz Hispana will hold a community forum at a local church in Woodburn, Oregon on the night of the announcement. Throughout June, July, and August, Voz Hispana will host six more community forums in Woodburn, Hillsboro, Portland, Salem, and Albany. Through this extensive community outreach campaign, thousands of Oregonians will receive accurate legal advice from the volunteer immigration attorneys who partner with Voz Hispana.
If the Supreme Court upholds DAPA and DACA+, Voz Hispana is expecting between 300 to 500 people per forum, because the organization and community have been preparing for this moment since 2014. If DAPA and DACA+ will not be implemented due the Supreme Court’s decision, Voz Hispana will still hold these community forums to educate attendees about alternatives to the program and to mobilize the immigrant community to register and educate voters about electing leaders who will pass immigration reform.
In addition to the community forums, Voz Hispana has been training and preparing its community since early 2014, when it came to the conclusion that immigration reform would come from an executive order, rather than congressional legislation. Since, more than 100 volunteers from the Latino community in Oregon, both documented and undocumented, have been trained and are equipped to help implement the program as soon as a decision is handed down.
Alejandra Lily, Executive Director of Voz Hispana Cambio Comunitario, advises other local groups preparing for DAPA and DACA+ to, “Make sure to involve undocumented immigrants in this process regardless of the decision. Don’t give up, this is a prolonged struggle and regardless of the decision we should not lost hope, because hope dies last.”