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Power Station

Sep 3, 2019

When Ali Noorani visited Honduras, he met migrants desperate to escape poverty and violence for the presumed safety and opportunity of the United States. They started this journey with their dignity intact but were robbed of it through their experiences at the United States-Mexican border. As Ali sees it, this administration's hateful rhetoric and treatment of immigrants is robbing the entire nation of its dignity.

The Forum was launched in 1982 to coalesce civil rights organizations in advocating for a more just immigration and workforce system. Its strategic approach sharpened when Ali Noorani joined as executive director in 2008. After President Obama was elected there was growing optimism about the potential for a path to citizenship and other meaningful immigration reform. When momentum for change built and then came crashing down in 2010, Ali had a realization that defined the next generation of the National Immigration Forum’s vision and strategy. He noted that while political parties talked about immigration in political terms, the rest of the country viewed it in cultural terms. In 2012, Ali began engaging with cultural influencers: faith, law enforcement and veterans’ leaders in traditionally conservative parts of the country. The resulting conversations about their fears, questions and concerns, have generated unprecedented trust. And they have uncovered the strong relationships that exist, away from public view, between conservative employers and their immigrant workforce. As a result, a collective willingness to stand for and with immigrant communities, has brought some of these leaders to advocate for pro-immigrant public policies on Capitol Hill. It turns out, that in Idaho, Mississippi and Arizona, it is immigrants, working for local employers, and starting their own businesses, that are bolstering local economies and forging deep community bonds. Don’t miss this important and hopeful episode of Power Station.