The Rhode Island Coalition for Immigrants and Refugees was formed in March of 1986 as a result of the concern of many organizations as to how the Immigrant Reform and Control Act of 1986 would affect the immigrant and refugee communities in Rhode Island.
The main purpose of this coalition was to respond to the regulations before they became part of the immigration law and the IRCA, which would grant immigrants the opportunity of an amnesty. We invited more than 30 organizations to be part of the Coalition, along with representatives of our Washington delegation. Working in cooperation with our representatives, we were able to give input and make recommendations. One of our major accomplishments was the Family Unity Program and the expansion of civil surgeons.
Since 1986, over 10,000 people from Latin America, Africa and Asia have benefited from the collaborative efforts of a multitude of organizations and individuals concerned with immigrant rights. Members of the coalition include such notable community organizations as the Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy (ChisPA), Diocese of Providenceís Office of Immigration Refugee Services, the International Institute of Rhode Island, Jobs with Justice, the Liberian Community Association of Rhode Island, Ocean State, and Progresso Latino. We take great pride in our accomplishments and continue our mission to advocate for economic, social and political justice for Rhode Islandís immigrants and refugees. We accomplish this through education, citizen action and public policy. As an incorporated entity, we are better able to assist and educate the diverse community of immigrants that help make Rhode Island such a special place.
Our work continues, and the Coalition has gained credibility in the immigrant and refugee communities. Immigrants must know their rights, and they need to know where to access legal advice and help when needed.