The latest Administrative relief brought hope to millions of immigrants and families throughout the nation. More importantly, this policy is smart for our nation and all Americans. The 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allowed an estimated 1.2 million people ages 30 or younger to apply for deportation relief and receive a two-year work permit. The proposed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and expanded DACA would benefit millions of families. According to Migration Policy Institute estimates, Latinos accounted for 65% of immediately eligible DACA youth and represented an even greater share of DACA applications.
Latino families are and will continue to be the ones most immediately affected by any immigration reforms. But for California, DACA and DAPA are not charity; they are smart investments. The new Executive Action from President Obama is testament to smart, long-term economic and social policy. We must ensure that the narrative, as well as the policy remains positive, effective and inclusive.
The implementation, including outreach and education of expanded DACA and DAPA, remains critical, especially during a time of uncertainty given the pending lawsuit from Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court in Texas. During this time, we must continue to create a culture that celebrates the contributions of the undocumented community, ensuring that society moves alongside policy.
Latino nonprofit, community-based organizations have been at the forefront of helping immigrants integrate, contribute and participate civically. These Latino organizations play a central role during all parts of the immigration process, in the social, cultural and economic integration of newcomers. Over the years, these organizations have gained the trust and respect of community members and leaders. Although these trusted institutions are best positioned to continue to lead outreach and implementation efforts, most of them are doing this essential immigration work without support from any major funders. According to a recent report on philanthropic giving, less than 1.3% of all philanthropic dollars are directly invested in these Latino-based organizations.
If we are to make any headway in issues that affect California, we must involve and invest in Latino-based organizations and their leadership. If we fail to connect funders with the power and impact of grassroots, Latino-based organizations, we leave a lot of opportunity on the table.
LCF has surveyed its community partners to see if their organizations are involved in the implementation of DACA and the dissemination of information. Several organizations are already deeply involved. They have trained their staff, hosted events, shared information and provided resources to their clients. Unfortunately, few are receiving funding to do this work. There are some bright spots in increased funding for legal service provisions, especially in the Bay Area and for the support of unaccompanied minors. A Latino based-organization from Oakland, Centro Legal de La Raza, has recently received the necessary funding to do and lead this work. But it remains essential for progress on issues such as DACA and DAPA that existing funders consider how to better support Latino-based organizations.
The Latino Community Foundation is unyielding in its commitment to Latino-based organizations, the trusted anchors in our communities. LCF has sparked multiple partnerships that bring leaders, ideas, and funding collaborations together to empower the Latino community. Join us in helping support and invest in Latino outreach and implementation efforts that are effective and strategic.