Non-profit

Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM)

Website:

fairimmigration.org

Location:

United States

Project of:

Center for Community Change

Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) is an organization that advocates for liberal expansionist immigration reform in the United States. It is a project of the Center for Community Change, a left-leaning 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

FIRM advances a left-of-center political agenda by organizing dozens of smaller advocacy groups. It claims to have 45 member organizations in 33 states. [1]

History

The FIRM project was started in 2000 by the Center for Community Change with the goal of advocating for left-of-center immigration reform priorities, and expanded civil rights for legal and illegal immigrants. [2] The coalition started with three original member organizations: the Center for Community Change, CASA, and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights. [3]

FIRM represents a coalition of several dozen smaller advocacy groups across the country. Since its inception, FIRM has called for legal status for effectively all illegal immigrants, and higher levels of legal immigration to the United States. The coalition opposes all border security measures, and maintains that the existing security is the border’s most prominent issue. More funding, FIRM believes, will lead to more instances of violence between illegal immigrants and border agents. [4] FIRM believes that low-skilled immigration does not negatively impact workers, and insists that liberal expansion of immigration will improve the economic fortunes of all Americans. FIRM has long advocated for a pathway to citizenship for all illegal immigrants. With the coalition’s plan in place, illegal immigrants would qualify for entitlement benefits, English classes, workforce training, and access to higher education and housing.

FIRM proposes that immigration reform “should include measures that will allow the United States to help countries to address the economic, trade, social, and security factors driving high rates of migration.” FIRM believes many migrants flee their own countries because of “economic distress” caused by U.S. trade policies, and therefore those countries should be compensated with foreign aid programs. [5]  [6]

Finances

Since Fair Immigration Reform Movement is a subsidiary project of Center for Community Change, its finances are reported through CCC. listed $4,098,260 in expenses incurred on work with “organizations and coalitions of immigrant-led groups throughout the country. On [sic] campaigns to defend the Dreamers, and to shape the debate around the human impact of immigration policies.” [7]

FIRM receives support from a number of left-wing institutional funders. Groups that have reported making contributions to Center for Community Change to support FIRM include George Soros’s Open Society Foundations,[8] the Ford Foundation, and the Tides Foundation. [9]

Activism

FIRM trained children to participate in their protests throughout the 2013-2014 debates around the “gang of eight” attempt at immigration reform. [10]In December 2013, advocates organized a group of children to demonstrate inside the Rayburn House Office Building and perform a skit that represented then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as the Grinch. Earlier that year, advocates stormed then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Virginia) house in the D.C. suburb of Arlington,  held a prayer service at Boehner’s home in Cincinnati, and delivered “reams” of letters to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California), then-House Majority Whip. Children were also instructed to surround Boehner during his breakfast at a Capitol Hill diner. [11] In May 2014, a group of children blocked a downtown Washington, D.C. intersection with the intent of being arrested by police. [12]

Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican from California who was in favor of immigration reform, said at the time, “they [the advocates] killed reform. It’s over. It’s dead. They killed it. I begged them not to do crazy things, and they decided to be crazy. Now it’s dead. That’s what they get. It’s stupid. Why target the people who actually want to do reform?”[13]

FIRM’s special focus on training minors to stage political protests was part of the project’s intended purpose. In the organization’s 2014 financial report, the organization explained, “The youth organizing branch of the FIRM engages young people in high school and middle school to identify and address issues surrounding immigration reform that directly affect their lives and their future.” [14]

Kica Matos, a spokeswoman for FIRM, explained at the time of these protests “Obviously, persuasion only got us so far…What we are now doing is to switch tactics from persuasion to punishment,” promising that her organization would stage “daily confrontations” for two straight months. [15]

In 2015, FIRM and its parent organization started a nationwide fast while a case concerning DACA was being considered for the U.S. Supreme Court. [16]

References

  1. Fair Immigration Reform Movement. “Annual Report, 2017.” Accessed March 18, 2019. https://communitychange.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/CCC-Annual-Report-2017-digital.pdf
  2. About.” FIRM – Fair Immigration Reform Movement. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://fairimmigration.org/about.
  3. Fair Immigration Reform Movement. “Annual Report, 2017.” Accessed March 18, 2019.

    https://communitychange.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/CCC-Annual-Report-2017-digital.pdf

  4. “About.” FIRM – Fair Immigration Reform Movement. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://fairimmigration.org/about.Warren, Dorian, and Kica Matos. “More than a Tantrum.” TheHill. December 18, 2018. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/421655-more-than-a-tantrum.
  5. “About.” FIRM – Fair Immigration Reform Movement. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://fairimmigration.org/about.
  6. Tigas, Mike, Sisi Wei, Ken Schwencke, and Alec Glassford. “Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. May 09, 2013. Accessed March 18, 2019Center for Community Change, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Part III 4b.. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/520888113.
  7. Center for Community Change, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Part III 4b. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/520888113.
  8. “Center for Community Change/Fair Immigration Reform Movement.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed April 20, 2017. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/about/programs/us-programs/grantees/center-community-change-fair-immigration-reform-movement.
  9. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted March 19, 2019.
  10. Nakamura, David. “Immigrant Activists’ Dramatic New Approach: Allow Children to Be Arrested.” The Washington Post. May 02, 2014. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/immigrant-activists-dramatic-new-approach-allow-children-to-be-arrested/2014/05/02/af59976e-d09f-11e3-9e25-188ebe1fa93b_story.html?utm_term=.e5022845327c.
  11. Kim, Seung Min. “Tough Tactics on Immigration Reform.” POLITICO. December 10, 2013. Accessed March 18, 2019.https://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/immigration-reform-tactics-100922.

    “Boehner Draws Another Hard Line on Immigration Reform.” NBCNews.com. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/boehner-draws-another-hard-line-immigration-reform-flna2D11588680.

  12. Nakamura, David. “Immigrant Activists’ Dramatic New Approach: Allow Children to Be Arrested.” The Washington Post. May 02, 2014. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/immigrant-activists-dramatic-new-approach-allow-children-to-be-arrested/2014/05/02/af59976e-d09f-11e3-9e25-188ebe1fa93b_story.html?utm_term=.e5022845327c.
  13. Palmer, Anna, and Seung Min Kim. “Immigration Groups Turn to Anger.” POLITICO. February 11, 2014. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/immigration-reform-groups-house-republicans-barack-obama-103358.
  14. Fair Immigration Reform Movement. “Combined Financial Statements, 2013-14.” Accessed March 18, 2019. https://communitychange.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/CCC-FCCC-2014-Combined-FS.pdf
  15. Palmer, Anna, and Seung Min Kim. “Immigration Groups Turn to Anger.” POLITICO. February 11, 2014. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/immigration-reform-groups-house-republicans-barack-obama-103358.
  16. Fair Immigration Reform Movement. “Annual Report, 2015” Accessed March 18, 2019. https://communitychange.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CCC_Annual_Report_2015.pdf

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Javier Valdes
    Board Member
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