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.

Category Archives: Press Releases

Upcoming Executive Order Forgets How Essential All Immigrants Are

For Immediate Release  

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Contact: Press@vacir.org

Upcoming Executive Order Forgets How Essential All Immigrants Are

Arlington, Va. — Last night, President Trump tweeted his intent to suspend immigration due to COVID-19. Reports indicate that an executive order will be announced today.

Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights releases the following statement:

“At a time where there is already suspended travel in other countries, the executive order would not mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The executive order would be insulting to hard working immigrants and their contributions to our communities. 

The United States is dependent on both documented and undocumented immigrants. Immigrant workers are making sure there is food on the table, researching cures, taking care of people in hospitals and keeping facilities clean. 

No person should be singled out when the pandemic has already spread. We need to focus on putting forth policies that protect people’s health and safety while promoting economic stability for families who are unable to access unemployment benefits.

Immigration is essential to keeping the United States functioning and safe. Halting immigration is detrimental to the safety and well being of all Americans.

Information about Virginia’s Immigrant Community: 

  • Virginia’s immigrants pay over $256 million in taxes 
  • 6,700 TPS Holders and 2,700 DACA Recipients are essential workers during COVID-19
  • As of 2014, there are over 269,000 Undocumented Immigrants in Virginia.
  • 3.5 % of Virginia’s Population is Undocumented.

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Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (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.

Virginia’s Immigrant Community is Earns the Right to Drive

For Immediate Release                                 

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Contact: Press@vacir.org

Virginia’s Immigrant Community is Earns the Right to Drive

Richmond,VA — Monica Sarmiento, the Executive Director of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights releases the following statement in regards to the passage of HB 1211, the driver’s privilege cards bill that would allow the 270,000 immigrants in Virginia the right to drive:

“The right to drive has been the number one issue for the immigrant community in Virginia. The newfound ability for immigrant families to drive to work, pick up their kids from school and get to the grocery store will make an immense impact on their day to day lives. 

The fight has always been about improving the quality of life for immigrants. Although driver’s licenses is the equitable approach, driver’s privilege card accomplishes the overall goal of providing the undocumented community the opportunity to drive with the necessary privacy protections. 

Driver’s privilege cards will give many families the ability to have reliable transportation for the first time. It will help ease the minds of the families who worry that their loved one is not coming home due to driving without a license or being pulled over at a routine traffic stop.

The unity from many organizations and advocates from across Virginia to rally, make phone calls, email their legislators, host vigils and march to support issues for the right to drive has given many immigrant families hope and a new found support system. We are looking forward to continuing our work to protect the rights of the immigrant and refugee community.”

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Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (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.

Dream and Promise Act Passes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, June 5, 2019

Contact: Waameeka AheVonderae, press@vacir.org, (804) 362-8110

 

Dream and Promise Act Passes

Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights Praises the Passage of the Dream and Promise Act

 

Richmond, Virginia —  The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (HR 6) was passed in the United States House of Representatives following Congress’ return from recess. The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 would provide permanent relief for upwards of 2.5 million aspiring Americans, many of whom have deep ties to our communities, decades of residency, and cannot obtain immigration status under existing law. 23,500 people in Virginia are TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. Without those TPS holders, 1.3 billion would be lost from state GDP annually.  

 

“The passage of the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 in the U.S. House of Representatives is a strong first step towards ensuring that men, women, and children fleeing violence can live safe and peaceful lives,says Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director for the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “It is now up to the Senate and the White House to pass and sign this bill into law.

 

VACIR a collaborative of 34 organizations, is calling on lawmakers to do what is right for the immigrant community and pass this bill to provide a pathway to the American Dream to many deserving immigrants.

 

Governor Northam Must Resign for the Good Of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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.

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Trump Regulation Would Rig the US Immigration System for the Wealthy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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.

 

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Our Members

UFCW Local 400
VACOLAO
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
Bread For The World
Emgage
Legal Aid Justice Center
Neighbor's Keeper
Sacred Heart Center
HOLA
SEIU 512
American Jewish Committee