News coverage of immigration has justifiably focused recently on painful separations of families, deaths of migrant children in our care, xenophobic attitudes, and constant anxiety for those affected by current federal policies.
Something that the news covers far less, however, is what happens after immigrants and refugees enter the United States. State and local governments in one region have demonstrated that intentional programs to integrate and support newcomers can lead to positive outcomes for families and communities.
This collection features four stories from the Mountain West (two from New Mexico and two from Colorado) that each cover ways in which migrants were protected or supported by local and state policies and community organizing. In New Mexico, Santa Fe lives up to its sanctuary resolution, offering all residents know-your-rights workshops, teaching employers and employees what to expect from I-9 audits, and creating a rapid response network for accurate information when it comes to immigration raids. At the same time, Luna County is benefiting both economically and culturally from their population influx of minority and foreign-born people, while focusing on equipping the next generation of migrant children with the skills they’ll need to succeed in the workplace. In Colorado, the San Luis Valley is investing in futures of migrant children through their Migrant Education Program, which has offered bilingual education, counseling and guidance, health services, remediation, and preschool schooling since 1966. Some residents in the town of Center pride themselves on the solidarity and resilience of their immigrant communities and their allies, as exemplified through their Colorado Rapid Response Network and 24-hour hotline that spreads accurate and documented information about ICE activity throughout Colorado. All of these towns are only a few examples of the welcoming atmosphere that pervades the Mountain West area despite what our national politics would suggest.
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