Immigration Program and Campaigns
In this quarter, 29 Nepali TPS holder members from New York, New Hampshire, Colorado, Texas, Virginia, and California participated in a spokesperson training led by Adhikaar staff members, Megha and Anil, and Fellow Nikita. During the session, our members shared stories, experiences, and questions on immigration, and also learned communication skills and strategies for advocacy. The training included a section on community safety and self-care as we recognize the importance of empowering members with the skills to manage past trauma in the process of sharing past experiences. Our incredible group of members is committed to sharing their stories publicly and ensuring that the experiences and demands of our community members are at the forefront of immigration reform.
On January 23rd, 35 TPS members from Virginia, New York, Texas, and California participated in a strategy discussion to provide feedback on our ongoing federal litigation Bhattarai v Nielsen. This landmark case has prevented the mass deportation of nearly 400,000 TPS holders, including 15,000 Nepali TPS holders. Our team organizes biweekly national member meetings to create space for members to connect, share concerns as well as present updates on the litigation, legislation and administrative advocacy work on TPS.
On February 28th, staff Megha, Nikita, and 12 members from Maryland, D.C., and Virginia came together to rally for the “People’s State of the Union” urging President Biden to take bold action on immigration and push for TPS redesignation for Nepal, along with other TPS countries.
In late March, 25 members attended a legislative training led by our partners from Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP). CUSP is a collaborative of grassroots immigrant community organizations working together to win permanent status for our members and communities, and build a more inclusive immigrant rights movement that centers on the needs and experiences of African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, Arab/Middle Eastern, and API immigrants.
Recognizing the importance of language justice, the training was interpreted in Nepali language and offered foundational training on the federal legislative process and ways to become a strategic advocate for our collective campaigns, including TPS and Green Cards for All.
Language Justice and Casework
At Adhikaar, we understand the importance of offering case support and in-language services to address the material needs of our community. Last quarter we:
- Conducted intake and supported 82+ new cases related to immigration, worker rights, fraud, wage theft, and workplace discrimination
- Referred three wage theft cases to the Legal Aid Society and filed a wage theft complaint with the New Jersey Department of Labor on behalf of a member
- Responded to 130 TPS and immigration-related inquiries and made referrals to appropriate agencies
- Supported a family navigating mental health problems, domestic violence, and youth issues.
- Assisted in expediting a member’s travel document application to travel to Nepal
- Supported a trafficking survivor to file her Green Card. With support from TakeRoot Justice, another survivor member was screened for T-visa eligibility and met the criteria
- Supported a Domestic Worker member with legal case support as they were forced by the employer to be a witness in a divorce matter and accompanied eight members through the IDNYC process
- Continued supporting seven members with their regular ICE check-ins
- Supported a family undergoing a court case and child welfare matter and connected them to different government benefits and support
Youth: Organizing the Next Generation!
At Adhikaar, we organize, support, and give youth the space to be creative, build their leadership skills, and make a community of new friends. Our youth program is run by youth leaders who are majority women-identifying and come from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds with support from staff and fellows as needed. Today, we have a powerful group of 15 youth members and outreach to 60+ new youth members.
Youth organizing teaches young people how to recognize and examine the sources of social inequity. Youth become more keen social critics as they investigate structural causes for the problems they observe and experience in the world around them. They shift from the mindset of “What can I do?” to “What can we do?”
On February 20 and 27, our youth members hosted two parts of the college workshop. A majority of Adhikaar’s youth members are in high school and hope to be the first in their families to attend college. To demystify the college application process and offer a community of support and resources, including financial aid and admission requirements, college youth members Anusha, Chris, Seneca, and Aayusha, facilitated a workshop for the high school members. They shared their experiences with navigating college applications and their current studies. The participants were inspired and excited about college which helped them ease their pre-college stress.
In January, our youth leaders Aayusha and Suhani led a “Kurakani” (meaning “informal chat” in Nepali) workshop on power and privilege for our youth members. They facilitated a power analysis activity and moderated a discussion among three guest panelists who came from diverse backgrounds and castes. Youth members also participated in a political education “Government 101” session led by Megha. The session covered the importance of representation in the government and the power of civic engagement.
In March, our youth members organized a community safety check-in and designed community safety programs that addressed mental health and youth development issues in Nepali-speaking communities.
The whole team at Adhikaar would like to give a special shout-out to Anusha for being selected for the Asian Americans Advancing Justice 10th Youth Leadership Summit. Anusha will learn about organizing and the history of Asian American movements. We wish her the best of luck.
If you’d like to get involved in the youth program, please FILL OUT THIS FORM here.
Check out our first part of the newsletter on the Domestic Worker program here, and stay tuned for the next part of the newsletter on our Nail Salon and Health programs, along with the organizational-wide updates.