Power California, formerly known as Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, is a voter-registration coalition that pushes left-of-center ideas and voter engagement with immigrants in the state of California.
Despite proclaiming it is a non-partisan organization, Power California promotes left-of-center and progressive viewpoints such as granting a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants, government-controlled healthcare, and “end[ing] the exploitation of our natural resources.”
Power California has allied itself with organizations such as the California Environmental Justice Alliance, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Californians for Justice, and Resilience Orange County. It also has an explicitly political Action Fund which was fined $5,000 by California’s Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to “timely file two semiannual [sic] campaign statements.”
Power California is a Californian voter-registration coalition that encourages young people to think with left-wing ideas, and calls for everyone who lives in the state, regardless of citizenship status, to be fully involved with the decision-making processes of California.
Power California was originally called Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV) but changed its name in 2018 when MIV merged with another minority-focused voting coalition called YVote.
MIV started as a state-wide campaign in 2004 to organize a coalition with multi-ethnic organizations that worked with immigrant communities to boost the number of voters from immigrant backgrounds. MIV and the other organizations did this by helping immigrants register and mobilize others in their community.
The original MIV campaign was governed by a Coordinating Committee comprised of six coalitions and coalition-conveners. The Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (BAIRC); the California Partnership (CAP); the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA); the Korean Resource Center (KRC); Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action (PILA); and Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN) were the six coalitions on the Coordinating Committee.
According to Power California’s 2014 990 tax form, the organization received $795,910 from contributions and grants. The organization saw a large dip in grants and contributions in 2015 as it only received $237,355 for that year. Power California saw a large rise in contributions and grants in 2016 when it received $1,661,538 throughout the year.
While it was called Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, the organization received multiple grants from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund between 2011 and 2017. The total amount of money granted to MIV by the Fund between those years is $955,000.
Although it lists itself as a non-partisan organization, Power California promotes left-of-center and progressive viewpoints such as socialized healthcare, blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants, and green energy.
Power California, known as MIV at the time, began its voter engagement drive in 2004 after it began its original campaign with the Northern California Citizenship Project (NCCP). Power California targeted foreign-born voters in the state, which amounted to nearly 15%, to greatly increase voter engagement. The organization did this by producing multi-lingual “palm cards” containing information on how to vote, where to vote, and what voting rights immigrants had.
Power California started 99Rootz, its regional youth and young adult leadership initiative, in early 2018. The youth organization focuses on social justice initiatives and building “leadership pathways and safe spaces for growth and development” for young people that live in the towns along California State Route 99, which cuts through the highly agricultural and immigrant-rich Central Valley.
99Rootz has also developed “Summer Academies.” These academies hold “deep training” sessions on political education, identity politics, and campaign planning.
According to Power California’s executive director Luis Sanchez, the organization has registered and pre-registered 10,000 young voters in 2018 and reached out to thousands more to interest them in casting their vote. Sanchez also claims Power California informs young voters on issues such as immigration, the environment, and affordable housing.
Power California has many partner organizations including, the California Environmental Justice Alliance, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Californians for Justice, and Resilience Orange County, which celebrates the undocumented status of its Executive.
Power California also has an action fund called Power California Action. Originally founded in 2011 as MIV Action Fund, the name was changed in 2018 to reflect the merge of YVote and Mobilize the Immigrant Vote. While it was still under its former name, MIV Action Fund was fined $5,000 by California’s Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to “timely file two semiannual [sic] campaign statements covering the reporting periods of October 21, 2012 through December 31, 2012 and July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014, in violation of Government Code Section 84200 (2 counts).”
Despite claiming to be non-partisan, Power California Action’s mission is to “advance a progressive agenda.”
Power California, under their former name, is also a member of We Are America Alliance, an organization created in 2006 that holds similar ideals to Power California, and focuses on voter engagement with left-wing immigrants.
Power California also collaborated with CultureStrike and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration in 2015 to create UNTIL WE ARE ALL FREE, an initiative that aims to address “racial justice” by challenging deportation of illegal immigrants and incarceration of minorities through art and culture.