Our Mission

VACIR is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic coalition of organizations that exists to win dignity, power and quality of life for all immigrant and refugee communities.

Author Archives: Monica Sarmiento

Governor Northam Must Resign for the Good Of Virginia


Friday, February 1, 2019

Contact: Monica Sarmiento, press@vacir.org, (804) 482-0722

The Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights supports the leadership of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus in calling on Governor Ralph Northam to resign. Virginia’s ugly and painful history of bigotry and racism and the continued structural barriers facing communities of color must be rooted out everywhere they are found. In order for this work of truth, transformation, and healing to move forward, Governor Northam must resign. We look forward to working with future Governor Justin Fairfax and Virginia’s legislative leadership on building a commonwealth with opportunity, justice, and dignity for all.


Trump Regulation Would Rig the US Immigration System for the Wealthy


October 10, 2018

Media Contact: monica@virginiaimmigrantrights.org

The Trump Administration has proposed regulation that would dramatically broaden the “public charge” test that has been a part of federal immigration law for decades. These proposed changes would drastically reduce access to green cards and various types of visas for immigrants. These proposed changes put money ahead of family and threatens to worsen hunger, poverty, and unmet health and housing needs.

“Changes to the public charge test will also negatively affect family unity. Exclusionary provisions, such as favoring wealthier immigrants, individuals who are able-bodied and of employable age, are a regulatory backdoor approach to separate families. This is a particular concern for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities because 31% of the 1.1 million getting green cards each year are from Asia and Pacific Island nations. Forty percent of family-based immigrants are from Asia & Pacific Island nations,” says Sookyung Oh, D.C. Director of NAKASEC and Federal Committee Chair of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR)

“This rule change will impact the health and well-being of millions of legal immigrants and their families including US citizen children,” said Edgar Aranda-Yanoc, Executive Director of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO).  “If this rule is adopted, we would force immigrant parents into a situation of choosing between feeding and providing health care for their families or preserving the ability to change to a more permanent status at some point in the future.”

“It is the neediest in our community who will be affected. Immigrants will not apply for public benefits like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid. These programs provide basic necessities for families. Without these programs, immigrant’s families will go hungry, go without basic medical care, and endure hardships that unnecessary. This is a reckless decision on behalf of the Trump Administration.” Says Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director for the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

The rule is open to public comment from October 10, 2018, to December 10, 2018. VACIR encourages all of the member organizations and Virginia residents to submit a comment in opposition to this proposal. We will update this page with additional information to help you write and submit a comment.




Time Is Running Out For DACA Recipients To Apply For Renewal


August 2, 2018


Jen Lawhorne, jen@progressva.org, (804) 368-4849


VIRGINIA– Young immigrants living in Virginia should not delay in applying to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status due to expected decisions from federal courts in August. More than 12,000 residents of the Commonwealth have used DACA to obtain work permits and driver’s licenses, attend school, and contribute to their families and communities. DACA recipients have made a tremendous impact on Virginia, but if conservative politicians have their way, federal courts will side with the Trump administration to shut the program down.


For Paula Alderete, a George Mason University student and a Mason DREAMer, DACA has given her many opportunities that she otherwise wouldn’t have. “If DACA is fully stripped away, it will be as though my future is being stolen,” Alderete said. “Fully terminating DACA will have larger implications that will extend to all of our communities regardless of legal status. With the current lawsuit and political climate, the undocumented community is constantly being used as a political football by political parties, ‘leaders,’ and ‘allies.’ We are  tired of having our futures decided for us by individuals who do not know who we really are.”


President Trump announced in the fall of 2017 that he was ending the DACA program. A DC federal judge ruled in April of this year that the decision to end DACA was unlawful, opening the door for DACA renewals to occur. Attorneys general from seven states led by Texas will argue in federal court next week against the constitutionality of DACA. It is assumed that the fight will go to the Supreme Court of the United States. Immigrant justice advocates believe that Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court bench, Brett Kavanaugh, will likely support the administration’s anti-immigrant agenda because of his previous rulings.


Sookyung Oh of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), a member of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, said, “Ending DACA would be a huge mistake and makes no sense. Having DACA status has provided over 12,000 young people in Virginia an opportunity to work legally, go to college, and drive. Those two years of deferred action means two years of less worrying about detention and deportation, and more hustling to realize dreams. If you are a DACA recipient whose status will expire next year, we urge you to renew. We also urge you to join us in the streets and in the halls of Congress to fight for our communities and citizenship for all. We also urge DACA recipients to speak out for commonsense state solutions like extending driving privileges and in-state tuition to undocumented communities in Virginia.”


The Virginia Coalition of Immigrant Rights (VACIR) is urging all DACA recipients whose status is set to expire in the next year to renew their DACA by the end of the month. Resources are available for people wishing to renew their DACA from non-profit legal aid organizations, such as the Legal Aid Justice Center, and community organizations, like NAKASEC.


Request for Proposals – Loudoun County

The Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR) seeks  proposals for up to three grants made to support youth organizing and engagement among immigrant populations in Loudoun County.  The program is designed to train the next generation of leaders who will organize for immigrant justice. Each grant is for $12,000.  There will be regular training and support for selected organizations, and $4,000 in shared program expenses.


Loudoun County immigrants are on the frontlines of a range of anti-immigrant, racist attacks, and incidents.  

The focus of these grants is for Loudoun County immigrants, with the support of their host organization, to identify key issues and solutions confronting immigrant communities and / or immigrant youth.  The proposed work may be based in a specific neighborhood, region, or institution such as a school or place of worship.


Interested organizations will:  

Hire one or more person(s) as a temporary organizer/ intern/ fellow.

Identify a specific geography or institution where they will focus their work.

Identify issues or problems that they are likely to address.


The organizers must work in Loudoun County, but the host organizations may be located anywhere in Virginia.

Interested Organizations should submit the following information:

  • Identify the program manager / supervisor for this work and attach their resume.
  • Identify  in writing the specific geography and / or institution where the organizing will occur.   
  • Identify in writing likely issues which will be addressed by the project or campaign.
  • Identify one or more youth interested in the internship fellowship program. Attach either a brief explanation of why they are interested (if available) and  attach and attach an intern job description including compensation.


The applicant organization must be a VACIR member in good standing or agree to become a member if selected for support.  Interns/Fellows and their supervisor agree to regular joint meetings with the technical assistance provider for this project.  The meetings may be during evenings and / or on weekends. These meetings will provide an opportunity for training on organizing and support and feedback on plans and ongoing work.


Evaluation Criteria

Identified and Qualified supervisor.

Identified geography and / or institution within Loudoun County for organizing area.

Identified interns/fellow OR a solid plan for intern/fellow recruitment (attached)

Reviewing, Funding, and Notification Process

Proposal must be emailed to Ms. Monica Sarmiento at monica@vacir.org by Friday, April 13, 2018. All  proposals will be considered by the VACIR Executive Board and / or a review panel.   Final decisions on grant recipients will be made and announced in writing.


Important!  All funded programs will be non-partisan, will not promote any political parties or candidates and compatible with IRS 501(c)3 status restrictions. Applicant organizations must be a VACIR member in good standing. If you have questions please email Ms. Monica Sarmiento at monica@vacir.org.


2018 Loudoun County Organizer Grant

The Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR) seeks a request for proposal for a organizer positions in Loudon County for a matching grant. VACIR will award $40,000 to an organization that can match with $10,000 for a one year organizer position.

Commonwealth laws and local ordinances in Virginia have often been among the most anti-

immigrant and repressive in the nation. The focus of this is to organize immigrant justice supporters and build power within local communities. By achieving policy changes that immigrants themselves identify as priorities.

The organizer must serve in Loudon County, but the host organizations may be located anywhere in Northern Virginia. We expect organizing to happen around the needs of the community.

  • The organizer must have one year of professional organizing experience.
  • The organizer will educate community members about issues that they care about, identify and recruit leaders, and motivate residents to take action.
  • The grantee must show measurable results after one year of organizing.
  • The organizer must be fairly compensated and provided healthcare and benefits.

A completed proposal must include:

Application (must be completed online).

Which will include:

Program Proposal

Program Timeline


Evaluation Criteria

General Proposal – Who you are and what you hope to achieve (40%)

Plan & Timeline – Is the proposal well thought out with a plan and measurable results (35%)

Budget narrative – Budget (10%)

Is your organization must be in good standing with VACIR – (15%)

Reviewing, Funding, and Notification Process

All qualified proposals will be considered by a review panel and evaluated on the criteria outlined above. Final decisions on grant recipients will be made and announced in writing.

Official Rules

Your application must be emailed by January 25, 2018 at 11:59 PM EST to be considered. Please email Ms. Sarmiento for application questions. If you have any questions or inquiries, you can email Monica Sarmiento, at monica@virginiaimmigrantrights.org.

Important!  All funded programs will be non-partisan, will not promote any political parties or candidates and compatible with IRS 501 C3 status restrictions.


Our Members

UFCW Local 400
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health