Non-profit

Voces de la Frontera

Website:

vdlf.org/

Location:

MILWAUKEE, WI

Tax ID:

39-2010107

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $966,565
Expenses: $839,863
Assets: $351,440

Executive Director:

Christine Neumann-Ortiz

Type:

Immigrant advocacy group

Formation:

1994

Voces de la Frontera is a left-of-center immigration advocacy group based in Wisconsin. The organization is best known for organizing immigrant “general strikes” to protest against the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Voces de la Frontera has led opposition efforts to immigrant deportation, barring illegal immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses, and using local law enforcement to support immigration enforcement.

Voces de la Frontera also provides legal and social assistance to legal and illegal immigrants in Wisconsin. The organization operates workers’ centers throughout Wisconsin which educate immigrants on labor rights. The centers also connect workers with Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) groups for legal assistance on union matters. [1] Voces de la Frontera connects immigrants to a list of thirteen “trusted” attorneys who offer free or low-cost services on immigration issues, criminal defense, or labor law. [2][3] The organization also maintains a hotline where supporters can report deportation activity by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). [4]

Voces de la Frontera oversees four sub-groups. Voces de la Frontera Action is the political advocacy arm of Voces de la Frontera. The New Sanctuary Movement is a faith-based advocacy affiliate of the organization. Youth Empowered in the Struggle (formerly known as Students United for Immigrant Rights) is the immigrant student advocacy group coordinated by Voces de la Frontera, and Voces de las Artistas is a collection of artists associated with the parent organization.

Voces de la Frontera strongly opposed the Trump administration its immigration policies. Spokesmen for the organization have accused President Donald Trump of being racist and a white nationalist. [5]

History

In 1994, Voces de la Frontera was founded as a pro-immigrant newspaper in Austin, Texas. Co-founder and current executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz was a member of the Coalition for Justice, a labor agitation group. Neumann-Ortiz is also an anti-NAFTA activist who founded the paper to rally opposition to NAFTA among Mexican and American workers. [6]

In 1998, the newspaper relocated to Milwaukee. Over the next few years, Voces de la Frontera shifted its focus to providing legal support for individual immigrants and political advocacy in favor of left-of-center immigration law. The organization has challenged government and employment deportation strategies, such as using Social Security number discrepancies to target likely illegal immigrants. Throughout the 1990s, the organization relied entirely on volunteer staff. [7]

In 2000, the organization co-founded the Center for Community Change (now known as the Fair Immigration Reform Movement), a network of left-of-center immigrant advocacy nonprofits across the United States. In 2001, the organization opened its first workers’ center to assist immigrants in Milwaukee, with an emphasis on integrating immigrants into existing labor unions. [8]

In 2003, Voces de la Frontera opened its second office in Racine, California. The same year, Voces de la Frontera established Students United for Immigrant Rights (SUFIR), the student arm of the organization. [9]

In 2004, the organization established Voces de la Frontera Action, the 501(c)(4) political advocacy arm of the organization. In its first year of operation, Voces de la Frontera Action registered 10,000 voters. [10]

In 2005, Voces de la Frontera hired its first staff members and Christine Neumann-Ortiz became executive director. That year, the organization led the opposition U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner’s (R-WI) REAL ID legislation that incentivized states to confiscate driver’s licenses from illegal immigrants. Voces de la Frontera mobilized three protests against the legislation, numbering between 25,000-70,000 attendees. The largest protest against the legislation, entitled “A Day without Latinos and Immigrants,” called for a statewide strike by all Latino Americans and immigrants in Wisconsin. [11]

The REAL ID bill passed and went into effect in 2007 to prohibit illegal immigrants from attaining driver’s licenses in a number of states. Voces de la Frontera has challenged the law’s application in Wisconsin ever since. [12]

In 2007, Voces de la Frontera claimed it was instrumental in ending the federal government’s practice of issuing “no match letters” to employers, which alert employers to Social Security number discrepancies that could indicate the illegal immigration status of employees. [13] That same year, Voces de la Frontera formed the New Sanctuary Movement, the faith-based arm of the organization. [14]

In the 2008 election, Voces de la Frontera Action registered 2,000 new voters, 70% of whom voted in districts targeted by Democrats. [15]

In 2009, Voces de la Frontera worked with SUFIR to successfully push for legislation to permit the state universities of Wisconsin to charge in-state tuition rates to immigrant residents of the state. In the same year, a bill backed by the organization to restore driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants failed in the United States Senate. [16]

In 2010, SUFIR formally merged with Students United in the Struggle, an African American student rights group, to form Youth Empowered in the Struggle. [17]

In 2011, then-Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) ended in-state university tuition rates for immigrants. Voces de la Frontera and Youth Empowered in the Struggle negotiated the continuity of the policy at a few schools, including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A May Day protest at the capitol organized by Voces de la Frontera and the AFL-CIO against the change amassed 100,000 attendees. [18]

In 2012, Voces de la Frontera sued Palmero’s Pizza on behalf of twelve workers who had been fired after years of working with Voces de la Frontera to attempt to unionize and pressure their employer into accepting new contract terms. The National Labor Relations Board ultimately ruled in favor of Palmero’s Pizza. [19]

Additionally in 2012, Voces de la Frontera claimed that they pressured the Obama administration into adopting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program granting legal status to certain classes of illegal immigrants and slowing the rate of deportation of illegal immigrants. The organization also filed two lawsuits against the government of Wisconsin alleging that the state’s redistricting and voter identification laws had been targeted attempts to undermine the voting power of African American and Hispanic voters. The lawsuit aimed at the redistricting was successful, and Wisconsin’s districts were redrawn. [20]

In 2014, Voces de la Frontera “shut down” an ICE office in Milwaukee in protest against the Obama Administration’s two millionth deportation. The protestors chained themselves together in front of the office’s front door and garage, shutting down operations for several hours. The organization claimed that the Obama administration responded to the protest with the passage of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program, which shielded parents of lawful US residents from deportation. DAPA was ultimately blocked by a lawsuit filed by 26 state governments. [21]

In 2015, Voces de la Frontera organized the We Are All Milwaukee Coalition to push for a bill in Milwaukee and Milwaukee County to circumvent the restriction on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants by issuing city IDs with no legal status verification. The bills were ultimately defeated, though eventually the Milwaukee Common Council created a new ID card based on the same principle. [22]

Also in 2015, the Wisconsin legislature attempted to pass a bill to ban “sanctuary cities,” or cities in which local law enforcement refuses to participate in immigration enforcement, in Wisconsin. In response, Voces de la Frontera organized a second “Day without Latinos and Immigrants” protest in which Latinos and immigrants across the state called for a general strike. The organization claimed that the protest gathered 40,000 individuals at the capitol, shut down hundreds of businesses, and reduced the dairy industry to 50% production for the day. Governor Walker delayed voting on the bill, and it was never passed. [23]

Activity Under President Trump

After the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, Voces de la Frontera organized what it called a “mass resistance plan to Trump’s white nationalist agenda.” The organization formed Voces de los Artistas as an artist community to oppose President Trump, and the New Sanctuary Movement vowed to use church resources to shelter illegal immigrants from deportation. [24]

In 2017, Voces de la Frontera called a general strike of Hispanic immigrants in response to Milwaukee Country Sheriff David Clarke attempting to convert his deputies into immigration agents under the authorization of federal legislation 287(g). The march amassed 50,000 protestors and resulted in the closing of 120 businesses for the day. After Governor Walker refused to remove Clarke from office, Voces de la Frontera organized a nationwide Hispanic and immigrant general strike on May 1, 2017 in partnership with the left-of-center National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). The rally reportedly had 30,000 attendees in Milwaukee. In 2018, Clarke stated that he would resign from office to work for ICE, but his appointment was never confirmed. In August of 2018, he resigned as sheriff. [25]

Voces de la Frontera Action backed Earnell Lucas to replace Clarke as sheriff. Lucas was an outspoken supporter of Black Lives Matter and vowed to stop honoring ICE detainer requests. Lucas won the election against Clarke’s former deputy sheriff. [26]

In 2018, Voces de la Frontera called for another Latino and immigrant nationwide general strike, this time to oppose Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson who had been using 287(g) to enforce immigration laws. 10,000 protestors marched in Milwaukee, but Severson was not removed from office. [27]

Also in 2018, Voces de la Frontera Action launched the Voceros por el Voto initiative which registered 48,000 voters in advance of the 2018 the midterm elections. [28]

In January of 2019, executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz issued a press release on President Trump’s proposed border wall calling President Trump a “racist and elitist who has no regard for families and children at the border seeking refuge from violence and death, or for the millions of working-class families impacted by his shutdown.” [29]

Coalition

Voces de la Fontera is a member of nine left-of-center coalitions, including the Wisconsin Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Coalition for Safe Roads, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, Interfaith Worker Justice, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network the National Partnership for New Americans, United We Dream, the New Sanctuary Movement, and Wisconsin Voices. [30]

References

  1. “About Workers’ Centers.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/workers-center/about-workers-centers/. ^
  2. “Legal Help/Ayuda Legal.” Voces de La Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/workers-center/legal-help/. ^
  3. “Abogados de Inmigracion/Immigration Attorneys.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Attorney-Referrals-2018-revised-2-pages.pdf. ^
  4. “COVID-19 Resources.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/covid-19/. ^
  5. “Voces de la Frontera Responds to Trump’s Racist Tv Address.” Voces de la Frontera. January 8, 2019. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/voces-de-la-frontera-responds-to-trumps-racist-tv-address/. ^
  6. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  7. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  8. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  9. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  10. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  11. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  12. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  13. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  14. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  15. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  16. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  17. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  18. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  19. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  20. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  21. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  22. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  23. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  24. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  25. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  26. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  27. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  28. “History.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/history/. ^
  29. “Voces de la Frontera Responds to Trump’s Racist Tv Address.” Voces de la Frontera. January 8, 2019. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/voces-de-la-frontera-responds-to-trumps-racist-tv-address/. ^
  30. “Coalitions.” Voces de la Frontera. Accessed October 21, 2020. https://vdlf.org/about-us/coalitions/. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2002

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $966,565 $839,863 $351,440 $49,906 N $931,688 $6,651 $28 $66,422 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $727,384 $748,645 $212,446 $37,614 N $673,602 $3,720 $15 $115,408 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $673,005 $648,246 $227,093 $31,000 N $640,345 $610 $11 $136,846 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $716,168 $720,000 $213,159 $41,825 Y $684,397 $2,555 $20 $134,073 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $899,428 $901,179 $226,715 $51,174 Y $793,445 $45,686 $225 $79,769 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $759,964 $888,547 $192,759 $59,704 Y $708,475 $14,375 $515 $72,357 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $675,380 $768,217 $291,433 $29,795 Y $613,269 $10,199 $876 $100,733 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $713,581 $671,287 $387,028 $32,553 Y $630,397 $27,763 $2,609 $119,149 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Voces de la Frontera

    1027 S 5TH ST
    MILWAUKEE, WI 53204-1734