The Peace Builders: Long Beach Immigrants Rights Coalition

Feb. 21, 2013 / By

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.

For more information, click on the resources below.
American Community Survey
Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition
More on IRC’s work for DACA

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Michael Lozano

Michael is an editor and multimedia journalist born to Mexican parents who started their own Domestic Violence counseling center in Southeast Los Angeles. His mentorship has provided youth opportunities to share their stories online on NPR, KCET, the Long Beach Post, and other national websites. His articles have been syndicated and translated into multiple languages via New America Media and ImpreMedia, the nation’s largest Spanish-language news publisher. He was a fellow with UCLA's Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies, and has recently been a Votebeat Reporter for CalMatters and the Long Beach Post. Michael graduated from CSULB in 2011 with research honors in Sociology and a Journalism minor. Follow his work @chicanochico on Twitter and @thechicanochicoreport on Instagram.