The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling $1.2 million in support of efforts to educate immigrant and refugee communities in the Chicago area about their rights.
Grants were awarded to immigrant rights and legal aid organizations working to assist immigrants and refugee communities in the wake of executive orders signed by President Trump temporarily banning individuals from six majority-Muslim nations and refugees fleeing persecution from entering the United States. Recipients include the Arab American Action Network, which was awarded $25,000 to convene Chicago's Arab-American, Muslim, and immigrant communities and partner organizations in strategy sessions aimed at developing an effective response to changes in federal immigration law and policy; the Illinois Immigration Funder Collaborative at the Chicago Community Trust, which will receive $500,000 in support of community education and immigrant legal representation; and Raise the Floor Alliance, which was awarded $25,000 to develop training materials and workshops for low-wage and immigrant workers.
The foundation also awarded general operating support grants of $150,000 each to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, and the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the ACLU of Illinois.
"Because members of some ethnic and national groups have shown great reluctance to expose themselves as undocumented, it is critical for organizations to build trust within their communities," wrote Tara Magner, director of MacArthur’s Chicago Commitment program, in a blog post. "Outreach workers and legal aid providers are developing new and evolving strategies to connect with residents, offering 'know your rights' workshops in a variety of languages and with cultural sensitivity....Organizations are also building alliances across immigrant, ethnic, and religious communities to defend the American values we all hold true: the United States is a nation of immigrants and a nation that protects every person's religious liberty.