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In 2008, FACE became aware of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in work places and homes on Maui. Immigrant workers, most of whom had no criminal record, were being torn apart from their families, jobs, and communities. FACE quickly engaged in addressing the targeting of immigrants by ICE, which expanded and further diversified its base of immigrant constituencies.
Recognizing the growing need to address issues affecting immigrants in Hawaii, FACE organized the Hawaii Coalition for Immigration Reform (HCIR). Since its inception, HCIR has worked with Hawaii’s Congressional representatives to fix our broken immigration system. Families who move here today, as in the past, travel across oceans and borders to make a better life for themselves, but there is often no line to get into for becoming a fully participating American. The current patchwork of mismanaged and broken immigration policies and programs keep families apart—families from the Philippines, Tonga, and Latin American countries have been waiting for 20 years for visas to reunite with their families. HCIR provides a statewide voice in the national immigration reform movement by advocating for an immediate end to deportations for non-criminals, and for commonsense immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
On the state level, HCIR works to strengthen and promote the integration of immigrants who come to our islands. HCIR has conducted “Know your Rights” workshops for immigrants on Hawai’i, Maui and Oahu, and helped undocumented youth gain reprieve by hosting workshops for applicants seeking Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA). HCIR also supported undocumented students in securing tuition equity and some financial aid to students who meet certain criteria, regardless of their immigration status, at University of Hawaii campuses. HCIR strengthens, grows, and sustains the statewide movement for immigration policy reform and immigrant rights by advocating for policies and laws that recognize the innate dignity of all persons, respect for family unity and promote the civil rights of immigrants in Hawaii, and all of Hawaii’s people.