Pro-Immigrant Media Campaigns

10/31/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Naazish YarKhan Media & Content Strategist * Publicist * Writer * Managing Editor * NPR.PBS Commentator * Public Speaker

Courtesy DuPage Immigrant Solidarity

The majority of Americans do not hold extreme anti-immigrant views, but it is difficult for those of us who don't live and breathe
immigration policy to discern what is true and what isn't when we are
constantly being bombarded with inflammatory and inaccurate
information. Negative portrayals of immigration and immigrants have
often dominated mainstream media, including print, TV, radio, and Web
2.0. These portrayals are often based on twisted information and
statistics supplied by groups with an anti-immigrant agenda and a
record of playing fast and loose with the facts. Media outlets, even
well-established ones, often present these anti-immigrant groups as
reliable sources of information and take their claims at face value,
without any independent verification.

To tackle this media distortion, some of the local, state, and
national organizations that NILC works with have increased their
efforts to hold the media more accountable and are coordinating their
efforts to correct the record and thereby help change the debate. We
strongly support such projects and wanted to make you aware of a few
of them, in case you are not already.

Here's how this new organization describes itself:

"America's Voice is the newly-founded communications campaign working
to win common-sense immigration reform. America's Voice conducts
cutting edge public opinion research, undertakes public education and
provides comprehensive media analysis on the current state of the
immigration debate. The goal is to build the public support and
political power necessary to enact comprehensive immigration reform
that restores the rule of law and includes earned citizenship for the
estimated 12 million immigrants working and living in the U.S.
without proper legal status.

"America's Voice is part of a four-pronged strategy being organized
by immigrant advocates in 2008. Overall, the campaign will combine:

• an unprecedented voter mobilization campaign targeting immigrant

• enhanced policy advocacy and research;

• grassroots mobilization;

• a campaign-style communications and rapid-response war room."

Center for New Community (CNC) is working on a variety of campaigns,
including Campaign for a United America
and Turn It Down, a campaign against white power

CNC's Nativism Watch project is a helpful resource on exposing the
facts of the anti-immigrant voices often featured in the media. For
a list of helpful publications on anti-immigrant groups, see

"...providing factual information about immigration in America."

"The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research arm of the
American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF). IPC was established in
2003 with the mission to provide policymakers, academics, the media,
and the general public with access to accurate information about the
effects of immigration on the U.S. economy and society. The IPC
attracts nationally recognized scholars as research fellows and guest
authors, and publishes timely reports on the role of immigrants and
immigration policy. Together, the IPC director, fellows, and staff
have been a major voice in the national debate on immigration. They
have testified before Congress and regularly serve as experts on
immigration law and policy issues for members of the media."

IPC provides timely fact sheets to provide media which are available
by joining their mailing list or available at:

National Council of La Raza

"The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) launched the Wave of Hope
campaign to stem the surge of hate and violence that has surrounded
the immigration debate. The segment of the American population that,
in the past, has occupied the 'fringe' of American political debate
is no longer being relegated to the fringe. The rhetoric of hate
groups, nativists, and vigilantes has taken over public debate.
Their policy positions frame the country's political discourse, and
their members have penetrated the mainstream media. In short,
extremists are defining the debate on immigration-and the portrayal
of Hispanic Americans-at every level.

"NCLR believes strongly in the values of this nation, in pluralism,
and in the ability of every American to share in the rights and
responsibilities of this great country. We believe that hate and
other extremist organizations are un-American and undermine the
strength and integrity of our country. For this reason, the Wave of
Hope campaign calls on candidates for public office and news media
networks to divorce themselves from known hate and vigilante groups
and to refrain from rhetoric that demonizes immigrants and Hispanic

"The time has come to take hate out of the debate. Immigration is a
serious issue requiring a reasoned and thoughtful debate.

"NCLR is calling on candidates for public office and elected
officials at the national, state, and local levels to:

• Denounce hate associated with the immigration debate and the
Latino population

• Reject code words that demonize immigrants and Hispanics

• Renounce endorsements from those affiliated with hate groups,
nativist-extremist groups, and vigilantes

"NCLR is also challenging the nation's media to:

• Re-evaluate giving airtime to 'expert commentators' and 'anti-
immigrant spokespeople' known to be affiliated with hate groups,
nativist-extremist groups, and vigilantes

• Ensure that if such spokespeople are given airtime, that their
affiliations are made clear to viewers and that opposing points of
view are given equal time

• Better screen hate from their websites and blogs

• Commit to fairness, accuracy, balance, and diversity when
covering immigration and other issues of concern to the Latino

"The website, originally launched in January 2008, has been
redesigned to make it easier for visitors and users to find
information, obtain the latest updates, and learn how to get
involved. Its features include an extensive library of videos on the
links between anti-immigrant and extremist organizations throughout
the country; fact sheets on, among other topics, the code words of
hate used in the debate and the most prominent media spokespeople
from these anti-immigrant and extremist groups; and frequently
updated posts, called 'The Latest,' on incidents of hate in the
media, from policymakers and others."

Truth in Immigration

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)

"Truth in Immigration's mission is to rebut legal and factual
inaccuracies about immigrants and/or Latinos.

"Anti-immigrant and anti-Latino stereotypes currently abound in the
public arena. Political pundits, candidates for elected office, media
networks, anti-immigrant organizations, and hate groups consistently
disseminate negative myths about immigrants that poison the
atmosphere for immigrants and all Americans. Dehumanizing anti-
immigrant stereotypes generate increased bigotry and violence that
threatens the safety and well-being of everyone in the United
States. Moreover, this hateful dialogue threatens to drown out
reasonable and thoughtful perspectives on immigration reform and
other key policy issues.

"Therefore, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
(MALDEF), has created Truth in Immigration (TII) to serve as a
watchdog for communications about immigrants and to research,
collect, and rebut legal and factual inaccuracies about immigrants
that are disseminated and promoted in the media, the public messaging
of anti-immigration organizations, and political campaigns."


CASA de Maryland's "CASA Media Watch"

CASA de Maryland recently launched a rapid response effort to respond
to inaccurate, biased reports of immigrants in the media. Below is a
description of their project.

"Many of us are saddened by the manner in which immigration and
immigrants are portrayed in the media. Too often, short-term
political gain, ratings, and hateful contributors dominate the pages
of our local newspapers. People that are thoughtful about
immigration are not heard and policymakers are left with the
impression that the general public is significantly more anti-
immigrant than the reality. We are seeking your help to change this
status quo!

"We are launching a new project - CASA Media Watch - that seeks to
advance the voices of everyday people that are pro-immigrant. We
know you are probably often offended by many of the perspectives that
you read in the paper. Together with other volunteers, you can make
a world of difference in turning around the debate."

The goal is that CASA de Maryland will have a group of individuals
who have volunteered to be part of this project. When a response is
needed, such as a letter to the Editor, Casa de Maryland will notify
the rapid response network requesting they send in a response. Casa
de Maryland may also provide the network talking points or a draft
letter to make it easier to respond.

To get involved in CASA Media Watch, contact Mario E. Quiroz-
Servellón at