Civic Participation & Community Organizing

Recently, CARECEN has organized the local DC Latino Community around the following issues:

  • SUPPORT Comprehensive Immigration Reform
  • OPPOSE Implementation of Secure Communities in DC
  • SUPPORT The DREAM Act
  • SUPPORT Permanent Residence for Central American TPS Holders
  • SUPPORT Decent Living Conditions for Latino Seniors in the District
  • SUPPORT Access to Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
  • SUPPORT Access to Healthcare for immigrants through DC Healthcare Alliance

Examples of past organizing efforts by CARECEN:

Supporting Comprehensive Immigration Reform

In 2006, CARECEN took an active role in mobilizations on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform that drew approximately 1.25 million participants across the country. In March 2010, CARECEN joined forces with other local and national organizations and mobilized over 15,000 Latinos from the District of Columbia to march and rally in support of immigration reform. CARECEN regularly informs constituents on key issues such as legalization as a path to citizenship for the undocumented, worker rights, civil rights and civil liberties, and the DREAM Act.

Supporting Language Access

In 2004 CARECEN became a founding member of the D.C. Language Access Coalition in support of the Language Access Act. The Act was passed in 2004 and is intended to ensure language services for low-income immigrants in DC. The multiethnic D.C. Language Access Coalition monitors the implementation and effectiveness of the Act and seeks to keep the city accountable to the law and its measures. CARECEN has served on various committees of the coalition and most recently on the Executive Committee, the Coalition’s decision making body. In 2012 the D.C. Language Access Coalition collaborated with the American University Washington College of Law Immigrant Justice Clinic to release “Access Denied”, a study of the city government’s compliance with the D.C. Language Access Act.

Supporting Permanent Residency for Central Americans with Temporary Protected Status

CARECEN has been a longtime advocate of the extension of Temporary Protected Status to Central Americans nationwide. In 2005, CARECEN launched a postcard writing campaign to promote the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans and other Central American immigrants. Approximately 327,000 immigrants benefited when that extension was granted. In 2012 CARECEN DC joined more than 20 organizations in 15 states to launch the national campaign for Permanent Residence for Central Americans who currently have Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Community Education

“Know Your Rights”
Throughout the year, CARECEN organizes “Know Your Rights” community workshops and follow-up activities aimed at educating the community about civil rights violations such as discrimination in housing, employment, and public services; immigration law enforcement by local police; violations of labor laws and workers’ rights; housing and health code violations; language access to public services in the District of Columbia, and more.

These workshops and presentations feature CARECEN staff as well as staff from partner organizations such as the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and the D.C. Language Access Coalition.