Long Beach is a city known for its diversity: in people, music, and food. Regarded as a global city, it is a definite epic center of migration, with migrant workers commonly found in the booming hotel Industry and numerous foreign-born students attending the CSULB and Long Beach City College campuses.
One organization dedicated to assisting immigrants in Long Beach is the Immigrant Rights Coalition (IRC). Their mission is to build a “just immigration policy with greater respect for the human rights and dignity of all immigrants.” Their work consists of supporting families with free citizenship classes and legal clinics for persons needing assistance from an attorney.
In the video above, VoiceWaves interviews Eric Romero, 25, an activist with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (IRC). He shares the story of his family’s struggle and how their life journey inspired him to join the immigrants rights movement.
In the interview, Romero describes IRC’s work, which consists of supporting families with free citizenship classes and legal clinics for persons needing assistance from an attorney.
“The organization is a grassroots organization– probably as grassroots as it gets,” says Romero.
There are about 62,607 non-American citizens in Long Beach– making up 13 percent of the total population, according to the American Community Survey (ACS) of 2011. The ACS does not specify how many are undocumented, but they do indicate that non-citizens make up more than half of all foreign-born residents in Long Beach.
To address this population’s needs, the IRC organized workshops for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. An emerging issue if that of the ‘Undocuqueers’- typically, undocumented youth who are also LGBT.