About We Are America Alliance
The We Are America Alliance was formed in 2006 to advance immigration policy that respects the rights and fundamental dignity of all who call America home. The mission of the Alliance is to create a unique space for collaboration between national, state, and local groups that work on immigration rights and civic engagement in various ethnic communities. The groups coordinate, collaborate, and gain technical assistance and economies of scale (much larger than any group individually) to build political power in their regions.
The We Are America Alliance civic engagement program was launched in 2007 following months of organization and planning in the aftermath of the 2006 immigration marches. The fourteen national partners crafted projects designed to encourage citizenship, register voters, get out the vote, and empower immigrants to take an active role in the civic life of their communities. Through the Alliance’s efforts, the country witnessed an unprecedented spike in naturalization rates, with 1,051,640 residents becoming citizens between October 2007 and September 2008. Alliance members registered 502,894 children of immigrants, new citizens, and other citizen immigrants to vote. Members also organized and implemented 686,411 get out the vote (GOTV) contacts.
During the 2006 general elections, 72.9 percent of native-born Americans were registered to vote. But only 54.3 percent of naturalized citizens were registered. The latest figures from 2008 reveal a similar gap: 71.8 percent versus 60.5 percent. There is evidence that increased attention to voter registration in immigrant communities has had an impact. In the period between 2006 and 2008 the rate of registration for native-born citizens increased 3.2 percentage points while that of naturalized citizens was nearly double at 6.2 percent. The increase in voter turnout in 2008 witnessed a 15.8 percent boost for native citizens and a 17.4 percent gain for naturalized voters.
In the two years between 2006 and 2009 over 3.1 million immigrants took the Oath of Allegiance in ceremonies across the country, becoming full citizens of the United States. These new citizens, along with those who proceeded them, are the focus of the We Are America Alliance.
In 2010 the We Are America Alliance goals are to:
- Amplify a unified message about the importance of the immigrant vote to encourage elected officials to better serve the needs of immigrant communities.
- Provide a table for local, state, and national immigrant rights groups to coordinate and collaborate on their 2010 civic engagement efforts including increasing the 2010 immigrant, Latino, and Asian-American vote and increasing participation in the process to comprehensively reform immigration.
- Increase and sustain the capacity of Alliance partners by providing them with technical assistance, data and research, and an avenue for cost sharing on resources such as data, research, polling, and evaluations.
In order for the Alliance to achieve its 2010 goals, it will engage in strategies to amplify the importance of the immigrant, Latino, Asian-American vote in 19 states. Those states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. These states are important to the We Are America Alliance because of their significant immigrant, Latino, and Asian-American populations and the ability of those communities to impact policies, especially comprehensive immigration reform. The three main strategies will include a local and national coordinated media campaign, electoral and advocacy civic engagement activities, and capacity building support to Alliance partners.
The We Are America Alliance will seek feedback and analysis from member organizations, allied groups, and interested parties. To ensure that the goals established for the 2010 campaign were met, and that lessons learned can be applied to future similar endeavors, the Alliance will enlist an objective third party to provide a quantitative and qualitative assessment of its work. This evaluation will help us refine and expand future efforts, and improve the strategies and ability to reach Immigrant, Latino and Asian-American communities.