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Welcoming Migrants in the Mountain West

created by

Lucille Crelli

Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications

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.

Stories In This Collection (4)

A helping hand for migrant students

High Country News

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The Migrant Education Program, which offers educational and social services to migrant worker families in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, is growing in popularity among the valley’s migrant worker population, and has recently begun to focus on getting migrant students geared up for college .

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Fight or Flight

Boulder Weekly

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As immigration policy fluctuates under the current administration and the future of thousands of undocumented migrants remains volatile, uncertain, and complex, many find themselves in a heightened state of stress and fear. But activists in Colorado are attempting to take positive steps and suppo...

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In New Mexico, demographic shifts have helped job growth

High Country News

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Historically there has been stigma and pushback to bilingual and immigrant programs, but some counties are starting to embrace diversity as key to economic development. Greater diversity spurs innovation, entrepreneurship, and population growth in rural areas, recognition of these benefits has ea...

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A Year Later, Fewer Deportations in Cities That Adopted “Welcoming” Policies

Yes! Magazine

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In the state of New Mexico, policy makers, activists, religious leaders, and the community are all working hand in hand to make the state a safe harbor for undocumented immigrants. The state is refusing to cooperate with ICE and aside from California is one of the most friendly to immigrants. A c...

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Fondriest Environmental, David De Wit / Community Eye Health, Linda Steil / Herald Post, John Amis / UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences – OCCS, Andy B, Peter Garnhum, Thomas Hawk, 7ty9, Isriya Paireepairit, David Berger, UnLtd The Foundation For Social Entrepreneurs, Michael Dunne, Burak Kebapci, and Forrest Berkshire / U.S. Army Cadet Command public affairs

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