America’s Voice Education Fund (AVEF) is an educational organization founded in 2008 to serve as a media and communications organization advocating for left-of-center expansionist immigration policy. The group is affiliated with the lobbying organization America’s Voice. AVEF runs targeted public education campaigns to push a liberal expansionist immigration agenda, in addition to providing responses to current events in immigration in various local and national media outlets.
Though AVEF must legally remain nonpartisan, much of its activity is focused on criticizing right-of-center groups and political officials on immigration policy, especially since the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.
AVEF operates primarily through media outreach and public education campaigns designed to push a left-of-center, expansionist immigration agenda. In 2013, AVEF partnered with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) to commission left-leaning research firm Latino Decisions to conduct polling among Latino illegal immigrants.  The poll of over 400 illegal immigrants found that 87% of illegal immigrants would apply for full citizenship if an immigration reform bill passed and revealed that 68% of illegal immigrants had been living illegally in the United States for over ten years. 
In 2016, AVEF partnered with several left-of-center groups, including United We Dream, MomsRising, and First Focus, to produce a targeted media campaign in nine states and Washington, D.C. to raise public support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program enacted by the Obama administration to provide relief from deportation to certain illegal immigrants while the United States Supreme Court debated its legal status.  The campaign, entitled “My American Story,” included television and radio public service announcements featuring children expressing fears that their parents who are in the country illegally would be deported. 
Several times per week, America’s Voice Education Fund publishes a blog called “Immigration Reform News,” featuring left-leaning immigration updates from media outlets across the United States.  From this blog, AVEF generates press releases designed to push a left-of-center immigration agenda.
Aside from maintaining an online blog, AVEF frequently comments on contemporary immigration issues and pushes for left-of-center reform through the media. In a 2019 interview, when asked about AVEF’s greatest accomplishments, deputy director of AVEF Lynn Tramonte did not list any particular accomplishments but claimed that “the pro-immigrant voter is powerful,” and AVEF “helps to communicate that to the media.” 
America’s Voice Education Fund is an active proponent of preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, established through an executive order issued by former President Barack Obama. DACA permits illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain in the country with protection from deportation and work permit eligibility.
AVEF has used the media to argue that DACA should be fully protected by legislation, using the media to criticize Republican immigration policy efforts. In 2017, Republican senators introduced the Succeed Act, a bill which would allow DACA recipients to stay in the country while no longer allowing them to petition to bring in close relatives, a measure aimed at ending so-called “chain migration.”  AVEF executive director Frank Sharry denounced the bill, claiming that it would require illegal immigrants protected by DACA to “sign away future legal rights.” 
Sharry has taken even more hostile stances towards the Trump administration when asked about DACA recipients in the past, claiming that Trump is “mainstreaming white nationalism,” “undermining our justice system,” and turning DACA recipient dreams into “a nightmare under this dark and soulless President” through his efforts to end the program. 
Sanctuary Cities and Criminal Deportation
America’s Voice Education Fund has focused much of its media attention on advocating in favor of sanctuary cities—local jurisdictions that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities—and against the deportation of illegal immigrants. In 2017, Republicans in the United States House of Representatives proposed “Kate’s Law,” a bill named after a young woman who was killed by an illegal immigrant who, after being deported five different times, had nonetheless returned illegally to the United States and found refuge in the sanctuary city of San Francisco.  The bill aimed to impose tougher sentences on offenders who were previously deported and returned to the United States illegally. Kate’s Law was introduced alongside the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which proposed to cut some federal grants to “sanctuary cities.  AVEF deputy director Tramonte claimed that the bills would “harm, rather than help, public safety” while helping to “put the Trump administration’s existing cruel approach into overdrive.” 
Earlier in February 2017, then-Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly publicly released two memos detailing a plan to increase hiring of immigration officials, make more criminal offenses punishable by deportation, and allow local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration provisions.  While a DHS spokesman came out to say that there would not be mass deportations, Tramonte claimed on behalf of the AVEF that the provisions amounted to an “instruction manual for mass deportation.”  One month later, AVEF executive director Sharry claimed that the policies were racially motivated, commenting that the Trump administration is “explicit in (its) goal of trying to Make America White Again.” 
AVEF has also commented on state immigration issues. In April 2017, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill prohibiting cities and counties from passing laws which would prevent the use of local resources for immigration enforcement.  Sharry weighed in on behalf of AVEF, saying that the bill “coerced” local cooperation with federal law and would make undocumented immigrants so “terrified of staying that, if they’re not picked up and deported that they pick up and leave on their own.”  That same month, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials arrested 95 illegal immigrants, 86% of which had prior criminal convictions including manslaughter, child abuse, cocaine possession, and weapons possession.  Sharry commented on AVEF’s behalf that this measure taken to deport criminals was just a “PR strategy designed to provide cover for a hard-edged strategy where virtually anyone is eligible for deportation.” 
America’s Voice Education Fund, despite being a purportedly nonpartisan organization given its tax-exempt status, takes hard stances against President Donald Trump and Republicans more generally, even on issues unrelated to immigration, the 501(c)(3)’s declared issue agenda.
There is a full section of the AVEF website dedicated to the tag “Republicans.”  AVEF has called President Trump’s attempts to curtail illegal immigration “the worst political humanitarian crisis in recent US history” and claimed that President Trump has declared “open season on immigrants, refugees, Latino families, and other people of color in America.”  
There are nearly 2000 internal search results on the AVEF website tagged “Republicans,” with AVEF calling GOP leaders “complicit” in “radical nativism” and arguing that “Everyone Wants Immigration Reform Except Republican Politicians.”  The website goes on to defend members of the Democratic Party, claiming in 2016 that no Republican presidential candidates supported comprehensive immigration reform while praising “all” of the Democratic presidential candidates for denouncing the GOP and supporting former President Barack Obama’s expansionist immigration agenda. 
AVEF also encourages supporters to engage in direct criticism of top Republican officials. The AVEF website hosts a tool encouraging supporters to call former House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and protest right-of-center immigration policy.  The site then provides a script for callers to read, which includes calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a “deportation force” and referring to a proposed border wall as a “wall of hate.” 
AVEF promotes broader action against Republicans, co-hosting a “Tweet a Hater” tool with its advocacy arm America’s Voice’s.  The tool allows AVEF supporters to send an automated tweet to President Trump, the National Republican Campaign Committee, or the right-of-center Congressional Leadership Fund, among other Republican officials.  The tweet accuses the target of spreading “xenophobic ads” that are “gross and dangerous,” while threatening that “anti-immigrant fear mongering has consequences.”  As of March 2020, the tool has never been used by a Twitter user whose tweets are publicly visible. 
In March 2020, following Senate Democrats killing a bill designed to stabilize the American economy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) published a tweet disparaging Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for trying to explain away his vote against the bill.  AVEF, in a press release entitled “Sen. John Cornyn to Senate Democrats Fighting for All Americans: ‘Blah Blah Blah,’” argued that Cornyn was supporting “corporate bailouts paid out of slush funds controlled by Trump lackeys” and that the senator “perpetuated President Trump’s racist response to COVID-19.” 
AVEF has published further pieces condemning President Trump’s decision to close the border between the United States and Mexico to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that the decision to close the border is part of President Trump’s “anti-immigrant, racist, and xenophobic policy agenda.” 
People and Funding
AVEF is funded almost entirely by outside gifts and contributions, totaling $3,213,282 in 2017.  Most of these donations are undisclosed, but since 2008, AVEF has accepted almost $14.9 million in grants from the left-of-center Carnegie Corporation of New York.  Unbound Philanthropy, another left-of-center grantmaking organization, has provided an undisclosed amount of general support funding to AVEF every year since 2010. 
Frank Sharry is the founder and executive director of AVEF.  Before founding America’s Voice in 2008, Sharry served for seventeen years as executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a left-of-center national immigration policy group.  Prior to his work with National Immigration Forum, Sharry served as executive director of Centro Presente, a refugee organization, and co-founded the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition. 
Lynn Tramonte is the deputy director of AVEF. Tramonte also serves as founder and director of the Ohio Immigrant Alliance, a volunteer organization that aims to raise public opinion against Ohio immigration enforcement.