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

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.


Virginia Immigrant Justice Advocates Call For In-State Tuition And Driving Privileges For Undocumented Virginians


January 9, 2018


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

Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights Announces 2018 General Assembly Legislative Agenda

RICHMOND– Members of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR) state committee held a  press conference today to support proposed legislation providing in-state tuition and driving privileges to undocumented Virginians. VACIR’s state committee, a coalition comprised of 16 organizations, is calling on Virginia lawmakers to fall in line with legislators from other states who have created resources and other opportunities for undocumented residents.

“The Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights exists to win dignity, power and quality of life for all immigrant and refugee communities. We stand committed alongside our communities today to advance these important issues so Virginia can be a more just and welcoming place to all immigrants and refugees,” said Margie del Castillo of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, one of the VACIR state committee’s member organizations.

Due to the absence of federal immigration reform, immigrant justice advocates in Virginia are looking for ways to meet some of the immigrant community’s immediate needs on a state level. VACIR is working closely with state lawmakers to introduce legislation that would improve the lives of thousands of undocumented Virginians. According to the Migration Policy Institute, nearly 272,000 undocumented immigrants live in Virginia.

Of that number, nearly 47,000 were born between 1991-2001, making them college-age. Virginia currently only allows students enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood (DACA) program to pay in-state tuition rates at Virginia colleges and universities. VACIR is working to expand the eligibility requirements for in-state tuition so that more undocumented students qualify.

VACIR state committee members are also supporting legislation that would provide driving privileges to undocumented Virginians who have obtained the necessary requirements to become licensed drivers. A 2016 report from The Commonwealth Institute found that removing barriers to obtaining driver’s licenses improves safety, boosts Virginia’s economy and betters the lives of immigrant communities.   


Trump Administration Adds 21,500 Virginians to Deportation List


Media Contact:

Monica Sarmiento, (804) 482-0722, monica@virginiaimmigrantrights.org

We are outraged that the Trump Administration has terminated the Temporary Protection Status Program for the people of El Salvador. Virginia is home to the fifth largest TPS community in the country. Most Salvadorians TPS holders have resided in Virginia for nineteen years. 21,500 Salvadorans in Virginia are TPS holders. 19,200 U.S.-born children in Virginia have Salvadoran parents who are TPS holders. Abolishing this program will separate parents from children.

The elimination the TPS program for Salvadorians will have catastrophic consequences for the Virginia economy. 18,200 workers in Virginia are Salvadoran TPS holders. An estimated $1.2 billion would be lost from state GDP annually without those workers. The hardest hit industries will be food service, construction, and administrative support. In Virginia Salvadorian TPS holders make up 24.2% food service industry, 23.5% of construction workers, and 17.6% of administrative and support and waste management services.

We urge that the Virginia Congressional delegation take a lead in a legislative solution for the TPS community. We urge that every Virginian call their member of Congress at (202) 224-3121, and tell your member of Congress that TPS recipients deserve to stay and a pathway to citizenship.






The Fight for Dreamers Continues!

From Immigration Attorney and VACIR Board Member Hassan Ahmed:
Attorney General Sessions announced the end of #DACA. Here is what that means (based on info we have now):
1. If you have never filed for DACA, it’s too late, as of today. You’ll have to find another way to stay. There may be options depending on your particular history, so seek counsel.
2. If you are filing for renewal of DACA, you have until Oct 5 to get your application in.
3. There is a new standard: even DACA renewals accepted by USCIS will be adjudicated on a “case by case” basis. I expect this to mean more arbitrary denials. Just because you file it correctly doesn’t mean you’ll get the renewal.
4. If granted, renewals will be for the full 2 year period.
5. No more advance parole for DACA holders. This closes the ability to travel, reenter, and apply for a green card (for those familiar: no more “DACAbally.” This applies to advance parole requests that are pending as of today, 5 Sep 2017.
6. If you have DACA, and it’s approved, it may not be terminated based on today’s announcements, but it still can be terminated for any other reason.
If you’re a Dreamer – please, please do not despair. We’ve been getting the weeping phone calls today. But fear kills your intelligence and courage, and you’ll need both. There are thousands of people – lawyers, advocates, elected officials – with you on this. You’re not alone.
On policy:
This is every bit the narrative expected from the likes of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III. Trump delegated the task of rescinding DACA to his AG, who isn’t supposed to dictate policy. And his presser was filled with omissions and falsehoods that belie the real impetus for today’s shameful action.
1. Sessions again repeated the white nationalist battle cry that immigrants are to be feared, and “we can’t admit everybody” and those we do admit should “assimilate” (as opposed to integrate) – a clear nod to the ill-conceived RAISE Act. Yet he supposedly is waiting for Congress to do something to admit the 800,000 Dreamers anyway.
2. Just like he did in his confirmation hearing, Sessions said the law must be enforced. But the law itself gives wide discretion to immigration officers. The ramped up deportations without regard to criminal history is testament to this. I suspect this is what he meant when he said his officers are now “inspired.” Apparently the slow death of DACA is the “compassionate” way to do things – the new buzzword being an “orderly winding down” of a supposedly illegal program. The 6 month period will make it more difficult to obtain an injunction halting the rescission – but let’s hope I’m wrong about that.
3. Separation of powers: It is frightening that the head of the US Department of Justice does not understand our system of government. He says the President (Obama) had no authority to temporarily shield whole classes of immigrants from deportation. Yet President (Trump) has unbridled authority to ban classes of immigrants and deport them. Sessions can’t have it both ways. If he had a problem with the way DACA was rolled out, then roll it out properly instead of rescinding it. If DACA is illegal no matter how it was rolled out, then *so is the travel ban.*
4. The 5th Circuit did indeed rule that DAPA (which was similar to DACA) was probably an excess. But let me say this clearly: the Supreme Court has *never* ruled that DAPA was unconstitutional. Let’s also remember that a lawsuit to shut down DACA would go before the very same judge Hanen who shut down DAPA in the first place. Hanen is far from a neutral arbiter, and I don’t make that statement lightly.
5. The supposed legislative fix. Sessions conveniently left out something that should have been made very clear: Congress has had since 2001 to find a solution for Dreamers and have failed. Now, they’re supposed to get their act together in the next 6 months. The implication – and perhaps expectation – is that nothing will happen, and all Dreamers will lose their ability to work, be arbitrarily labeled a “public threat” under Trump’s March 6 executive order, and be put in line for deportation.
6. Lest it be forgotten, this is textbook bad faith. Coax immigrants to come out of the shadows with promises of a work permit and no deportation, get their information, and then use it against them. I am not blaming Obama’s administration for DACA – but it was always meant to be a stop-gap measure. And the very same Congressmen now clamoring for the “rule of law” are the ones who stonewalled every single attempted legislative fix.
This is one campaign promise the administration has been able to keep. Rescission of DACA makes no sense economically, and it’s certainly the immoral thing to do. No court has ruled it illegal. The only possible explanation: xenophobia. Now structural and government-certified.
Please stay tuned. This isn’t over.

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