The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) is a national organization composed of local coalitions and immigrant, refugee, community, religious, civil rights and labor organizations and activists. It serves as a forum to share information and analysis, to educate communities and the general public, and to develop and coordinate plans of action on important immigrant and refugee issues. NNIRR works to promote a just immigration and refugee policy in the United States and to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants and refugees, regardless of immigration status.
The National Network bases its efforts in the principles of equality and justice, and seeks the enfranchisement of all immigrant and refugee communities in the United States through organizing and advocating for their full labor, environmental, civil and human rights. NNIRR further recognize the unparalleled change in global political and economic structures which has exacerbated regional, national and international patterns of migration and emphasize the need to build international support and cooperation to strengthen the rights, welfare and safety of migrants and refugees.
Every year NNIRR coordinates nationwide activities to commemorate International Migrants Day on December 18. Local areas acknowledge this important date by organizing rallies, receptions, forums, community dinners and other activities to call attention to violations of human rights of migrants. This year NNIRR will also introduce an online petition seeking endorsements for the US ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
NNIRR hosts a unique program – HURRICANE – the Human Rights Immigrant Community Action Network. HURRICANE provides a space for community members to dialogue and develop a shared vision of change that communities want. In HURRICANE community members share their stories, identify the problems facing them and organize to seek redress for abuses. Through this process and through research and advocacy efforts, HURRICANE has collected over 850 stories – many cases of human rights violations that put a human face on the impact of immigration enforcement abuse as well as racial discrimination. Through HURRICANE, the experience of immigrant communities in the U.S. is projected at local, national and international levels.
NNIRR has played a critical role in building the international movement for migrant rights, exposing the global roots of migration and uplifting the need for human rights as a core value to current deliberations on migration and development. Working to break down the silos of their movements, NNIRR has recently joined with international partners to form the Women and Global Migration Working Group, bridging the intersections of migration, gender and human rights.
The National Network is currently in preparation for the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, which will take place in New York in the Fall of 2013. Working with international and domestic members and partners such as Migrants Rights International and the Global Coalition on Migration, NNIRR hopes to widen the public discourse on migration and uplift the absolute need for the human rights of migrants as central to national and international policy-making. In the coming period NNIRR also intends to revive a national awareness-raising initiative on the UN’s migrant workers convention, targeting our own communities, allies, localities and national policy makers.
For years, especially in national policy circles, many have been dismissive of human rights, actually discouraging community organizers and advocates from even mentioning the words when addressing policy makers. NNIRR has stood their ground and continued to help broaden an understanding of human rights and how important values grounded in human rights are to securing policies and laws that truly protect and enhance the safety and well-being of all communities. The National Network is glad to see a greater credibility of human rights within our immigrant rights movement, in the public discourse on migration, and in various policy-making circles.
This year, NNIRR helped to coordinate a submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, concerning immigrant detention. The National Network was pleased that the SR's report to the UN Human Rights Council led with his assertion that no one should be detained for immigration purposes.