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Standing Up for Immigrants

The executive actions and the divisive rhetoric of the first days of the new federal administration are deeply troubling. They unfairly discriminate against immigrants and refugees, threatening our values, tearing at the fabric of our diverse communities, and undermining our economy.

We know that our grantees, the people that they serve, and many of the people they employ are distressed, fearful, and frustrated by these recent actions. We are too.

We stand with those fighting to protect the rights and dignity of all Californians – wherever they came from or however they arrived. This nation was founded by and made strong by immigrants, either fleeing persecution or simply seeking a better life for themselves and their families. That is the American Dream and our country’s history, and we are better for it.

California epitomizes the American Dream and has delivered it for millions of newcomers. And, our state’s success has been built on the contributions of millions of immigrants and refugees. At Irvine, our mission is to expand those opportunities for all the people of California.

We are privileged to invest in grantees and other leaders who are doing just that, whether by expanding pathways to better jobs or greater voice in the political process. And we’ve changed how we work at Irvine so that we can respond more nimbly to what’s needed to support those grantees and respond to uncertainty and change.

We have long supported efforts to better integrate immigrants into California’s educational, economic, and political systems. We have also expanded our support in recent weeks to confront these new threats to immigrant families. For example:

  • We have asked what our grantees need and, in response, provided additional, flexible funds to those working on immigrant integration. This includes $1.7 million in recent weeks to organizations such as the National Immigration Law CenterMexican American Legal Defense and Education FundBlack Alliance for Just Immigration, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
  • We are connecting many of our grantees in the immigration arena with support to assess and strengthen their cybersecurity.
  • We brought together California-focused funders working on immigration issues to share information, coordinate responses, and expand the resources available for this work.
  • We set aside funding for opportunities that help build the evidence of, and appreciation for, the critically important and valuable role immigrants play in Californian’s success.
  • We are engaging with policymakers on the local, state, and national level to learn what they expect, are doing, and how we and others can leverage likeminded efforts.

More broadly, we are working with our grantees to assess the potential impact of changes in federal and state funding on their work. We are eager to help grantees and California leaders protect – and promote – California’s status as a beacon of inclusion, tolerance, and progress.

We know that shared economic success and shared political power yield better results for each and all of us.