United We Dream has launched Notifica, a mobile application  designed to assist immigrant families who come in contact with immigration agents.

Notifica will serve as a key tool to assist immigrant families under increasing threat of criminalization and deportation as the Trump administration pushes further to carry out a mass detention and deportation agenda.

With the push of a button, Notifica connects users with their relatives, lawyers and support networks in a fast and secure manner. Notifica is the next step for our communities to continue organizing and protecting each other. 

Learn more about Notifica by visiting www.notifica.us and particularly the FAQ.

Help get the word out about Notifica out online by using the social media toolkit, and encourage people to text NOTIFICA to 877877 to get links to the app store.

In response to the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals forcing SB 4 on the state of Texas, immigrant youth with United We Dream, representatives and members of Texas Organizing Project (TOP), Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas AFL-CIO, SEIU Texas and Mi Familia Vota among other allies took action on March 14th outside of Houston City Hall.

Video of the event can be viewed here.

Damaris Gonzalez, lead organizer, United We Dream Houston, said:
“This decision, on top of Trump’s decision to kill DACA, is putting our families and communities in danger of more separation from loved ones, further criminalization of the brown and black community, more hate crimes against our people, and more stories like that of Dennis. Dennis was bullied at his high school for being undocumented and when he reported the incident was arrested by HISD police who took him to county jail where he was later placed under ICE custody who now, two months later is holding him in a detention camp miles away from his family. This decision comes to no surprise to us, and our community is vigilant and organized. We know our rights, will defend our rights, and no matter what, we will hold politicians accountable to our community and push for bold leadership to pass local policies that protect our families from separation, expose racial profiling and hold law enforcement accountable. In Houston, the Immigrant Rights hotline (1-833-HOU-IMMI) equips our immigrant communities with tools to fight back, and to help people identify and report racial profiling or violations of civil rights. Texas is our home, we are here to stay and here to fight!”

Natalia Cornelio, Criminal Justice Director with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said:
“The decision is a blow to the civil rights of every Texan. Millions of immigrants and people of color face the prospect of unlawful racial profiling and discrimination. But we are not deterred. We knew this was going to be a long fight when we started and we are prepared to go the distance. This ruling explicitly emphasizes that the implementation of SB4 must still follow the Constitution and is not a blank pass for police officers to ask everyone about their immigration status. We urge community members in Houston and across Texas to know their rights and contact us if they face civil rights violations. At the same time, it is now incumbent of every single city and county in Texas to ensure that they abide by our constitutional principles and take steps to ensure that discretionary arrests do not lead to deportation and the breaking up of families.”

Andrea Guttin, Legal Director for the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative voiced some of the concerns of the immigration legal services community:
“SB4 will decrease access to legal counsel because it encourages racial profiling – leading to more arrests and, subsequently, landing more people in immigration detention facing deportation.  An estimated ten percent of people in Houston’s three detention centers have access to counsel, yet representation is a key factor in winning a claim to lawfully remain in the U.S.”

Mi Familia Vota Texas State Director, Carlos Duarte, offered some insights for local communities:
“We will be making a call to local officials to implement mitigating policies to prevent racial profiling by law enforcement and to ensure that policing to keep communities safe takes priority over immigration enforcement. We need the police to do their jobs, not to act as ICE agents. Latinos deserve equal protection under the law. While SB4 is in effect, our civil liberties and rights are being violated. We urge community members to report all detentions, arrests, suspicion of racial profiling, and other abuses to the dedicated Immigrant Rights Hotline. More than anything, however, go out and vote. This law was created by and upheld by elected individuals – but we can elect who determines which laws should be valid. We have rights that need to be respected and our line of defense is at the polls.”

Rev. Felon Bonner II, TOP Board Member, said:
“SB4 is is an affront to justice and progress. SB4 is white supremacy codified. SB4 is more people of color behind bars, more families separated, more of us living in fear. I don’t want that. I don’t want that for my state, for my city, for my neighbors, for my community. Let us not forget that SB 4 became law almost solely on the votes of white men who have never been harassed by police because of the color of their skin. It is these same white men who routinely attack women’s health care, are constantly trying to pass laws that discriminate against the LGBTQ community and have done nothing to protect Black lives. But we, the people of Texas, will not be coerced or intimidated into being a party to their campaign of hate and division. We will not let their dog whistle politics that aim to criminalize and marginalize people of color go unanswered or unchallenged. We will continue to fight them whether it’s in Austin or New Orleans. We will continue to organize. We will rise! We will win!”

Since the law was introduced last year, undocumented youth, families, allies and thousands of brown and Black immigrants, families, and allies took over the State Capitol in Austin to fight back, saying, “SB 4 is Racist!” Today, they continue to fight to protect Texas families from the terror, instability, and fear white supremacist lawmakers have forced on communities of color.

In Houston, community members can learn more about defending their rights, access free and low cost legal services, and find ways to fight back against deportations by calling 1-833-HOU-IMMI (468-4664).

United We Dream, the national network of immigrant youth, has just released its “No More Closets” report, the largest national survey of the LGBTQ immigrant community ever conducted.

The report tells the collective and individual stories of some 461 individuals who self identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer and who are either born outside of the United States or are U.S.-born citizens with foreign-born parents. The survey was conducted in late 2015 both online and through individual interviews.

The report uncovers high levels of discrimination and harassment in employment, healthcare, housing and education and a distrust of law enforcement among this highly resilient population.

“With this survey, we aim to both tell our stories to policymakers as well as to the young people in our communities who are struggling that they are not alone and that together we can turn our shared struggle and power into the change we seek,” said Carlos Padilla, National Coordinator of United We Dream’s Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project. “In fact, some of our nation’s leading change makers are LGBTQ immigrant youth – out of great struggle can come great strength.”

Among the findings:

  • 73.4 percent of respondents say that their income either doesn’t cover or just barely covers their living expenses. Only 26.6 percent report earning enough to live comfortably

  • About half say they have experienced discrimination at school because of their sexual orientation

  • 41 percent have no health insurance, significantly higher than the general LGBTQ population

  • 46 percent said they have hid or lied about their sexual orientation or gender identity to a health care provider because of fear

  • Nearly half of all respondents say they are afraid to deal with police because of their immigration status or sexual identity.

Survey architect and report author Zenen Jaimes Perez, Policy & Advocacy Analyst for United We Dream, added, “The patterns of discrimination, lack of healthcare and harassment uncovered by this report are heartbreaking but the countless stories of resistance and hope are inspiring. We hope that this report is just the beginning of research into a community determined to live authentically despite the odds.”

In addition to the survey data, the report also includes several individual testimonies of LGBTQ immigrant leaders themselves including this one from Bianey Garcia of New York City:

“Coming out for me was not about visibility, it was about survival and about being able to share my strength with other youth who continue to remain in the shadows and in fear as undocumented and LGBTQ. As a transgender immigrant woman, being out and counted is a critical step so other people in my community can feel safe.”


United We Dream released “A Portrait of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Recipients: Challenges and Opportunities Three Years Later”, a survey first featured on Vox, of more than 1,750 immigrant youth with DACA.

In 2012, after a campaign led by immigrant youth, President Obama announced DACA, a program that currently protects more than 700,000 people from deportation and provides them 2-year, renewable work permits.

This survey is one of the largest of its kind, and it takes an in-depth look at life with DACA. The results show that DACA recipients have made great strides and are often the bedrock of economic and social support for their families. They do this while still struggling to find economic opportunities and the tools and information they need to navigate health care, workforce, financial, and educational institutions.

Among the key findings:

  • Over two-thirds of respondents help their family financially by paying rent and other bills.
  • Over 80 percent of survey respondents indicated that since DACA, they feel like they are more likely to achieve their career goals.
  • Nearly half of the respondents’ families rely on the DACA recipient for key information about immigration, healthcare, education, etc.
  • Nearly 70 percent of respondents did not have enough income to meet their monthly expenses or could just barely meet them.
  • Over 85 percent of respondents feel that they have been held back from their career goals because of their immigration status.

This is United We Dream’s second nationwide survey of immigrant youth and with its release, UWD is launching an ongoing research initiative on the lives and needs of immigrant youth and families.

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful nonpartisan network made up of 55 local groups in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. UWD seeks to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believes that by empowering immigrant youth, it can advance the cause of the entire community—justice for all immigrants.

Learn more about UWD at www.unitedwedream.org.