I was happy to be in the United States, but it hasn't been easy. The lack of bilingual education made my first years very challenging, but it wasn't until I wanted to apply for college that I realized that being undocumented could stop me from pursuing my dreams. It was emotionally hard to confess my status to professors who encouraged me to apply to universities when they saw my academic achievements. It was frustrating to think I wouldn't be able to continue my education and that my future after high school would be to join the workforce in a menial job.
—Undocumented SJSU Student
The following is a list of national, state, and local organizations that aid students in obtaining information and resources. Please note that the organizations highlighted on this guide are only a small compilation among a long list of organizations dedicated to providing their support and services to the immigrant community.
American Immigration Council Immigration Policy Center (IPC)
The Immigration Policy Center, formed in 2003, is the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.
How they can help: They can serve as an insight into understanding how immigration can affect politics. They are also helpful in maintaining individuals informed on the latest policies that positively or negatively affects the immigrant community
Hispanic Scholarship Fund
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund believes that the country prospers when all Americans have access to the opportunities a college education can afford. In addition to scholarship opportunities for deserving Latino students, they offer a broad range of outreach and educational programming to help students and their families navigate through the rigors of college life.
How they can help: They aid students' educational goals by providing them with access to financial assistance based on different qualifying criteria. They also assist a student's career by connecting them with vast networking programs as alumni.
Contact information: www.hsf.net
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
MALDEF strives to implement programs that are structured to bring Latinos into the mainstream of American political and socio-economic life; providing better educational opportunities; encouraging participation in all aspects of society; and offering a positive vision for the future.
How they can help: This organization updates individuals with policy, social, educational, and economical issues that affect various Latino communities throughout the United States. Information on scholarships and other related resources are also available on their website.
Contact information: www.maldef.org
National Immigration Law Center
Their mission is to defend and advance the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.
How they can help: The NILC aids with trainings, Immigrant rights updates and up to date information on immigration policy.
Contact information: www.nilc.org
California DREAM Network
The California Dream Network is a statewide network of existing and emerging college campus organizations who actively address undocumented student issues and who work to create broader social change around immigration reform and access to higher education.
How they can help: This group serves as a network for student organizations from various campuses throughout California that are focused on undocumented students and their issues, education and state wide networking, and on working together on the same vision.
Contact information: www.cadreamnetwork.org
California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC)
The California Immigrant Policy Center is a non-partisan, non-profit statewide organization founded in 1996. The Policy Center seeks to inform public debate and policy decisions on issues affecting the state's immigrants and their families in order to improve the quality of life for all Californians.
How they can help: CIPC offer various types of trainings as well as up to date information with policy updates impacting the Latino community.
Contact information: www.caimmigrant.org
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center is a national non-profit resource center that provides legal trainings, educational materials, and advocacy to advance immigrant rights. ILRC works to educate immigrants, community organizations, and the legal sector to continue to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people.
How they can help: ILRC offers up-to-date information and analysis about policy regarding immigration.
Contact information: www.ilrc.org, Tel: 415-255-9499
San José State University Resources
Students Advocates for Higher Education (SAHE)
SAHE is an SJSU student club that advocates for and supports undocumented high school and college students. SAHE is open to any SJSU student interested in helping undocumented students in higher education.
How they can help: Can provide up to date information on immigration matters as well as serve as a support group to undocumented students.
AB 540 Help Desk in MOSAIC at San José State University
The Help Desk was designed as a support outlet for undocumented students. Through this Help Desk, students are provided with information about AB 540, the DREAM Act, and other immigration policies. It also assists students with any questions they may have about the CSU system.
How they can help: The Help Desk provides up-to-date information on policy and any immigration information that might affect the AB 540 students with their academic success and other issues that might apply.
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association (CLFSA)
The Chicano/Latino Faculty & Staff Association has been in existence since the 1960's. Originally formed as the Hispanic Faculty & Staff Association, the organization was renamed but retained its mission of supporting Chicano/Latino faculty, staff and students at San José State University.
How they can help: CLFSA provides students with financial assistance through scholarships that recognize their achievements.
Contact information: email@example.com, Tel: 408-924-2033
César Chávez Community Action Center (CCCAC)
CCCAC was conceived as a student directed program within Center for Community Learning and Leadership, initially as Students-In-Action. CCCAC is now supported by Associated Students yet remains a strong ally of CCLL. CCCAC supplements service with our same community partners and with programs such as Alternative Spring Break, California Music Project, Students-In-Action (mentoring), Young Philanthropists, and similar service projects.
How they can help: CCCAC provides students with volunteer and mentoring opportunities and a connection to a vast network and community organizations.
Contact information: CCCAC is located in the AS House Room #102 at SJSU, Tel: 408-924-4144
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County serves and advocates for families and individuals in need, especially those living in poverty. Rooted in gospel values, they work to create a more just and compassionate community in which people of all cultures and beliefs can participate.
How they can help: Catholic Charities helps eligible immigrants navigate the often-daunting process of becoming a U.S. Citizen. The organization gives immigrants the opportunity to establish firm roots in this country so they can thrive amongst other services in other areas of conflict.
Contact information: www.catholiccharitiesscc.org, Tel: 408-468-0100, Fax: 408-944-0275
Outreach, Advocacy and Services for Spanish Speaking Immigrant Students
OASSSIS is the outcome of a partnership between EVC and Somos Mayfair, a non-profit organization that serves families in the East San José Mayfair community. The OASSSIS Program is to proactively outreach to Spanish speaking immigrant students and provide them with the resources necessary to excel at Evergreen Valley College (EVC). The program's focus is Spanish speaking students in need of basic skills training and English as second language learners. OASSSIS helps an underserved community of students and AB540 students.
How they can help: OASSSIS helps students with tutoring services, monitoring of academic progress, educational and career assessment, campus tours and activities, workshops and orientations at local sites, book vouchers and more. This facilitates the students' success and ability to transfer out to the CSU, UC or private system branches.
Contact information: www.evc.edu/OASSSIS, Tel: 408-274-7900 Ext.6079
Services, Immigration Rights and Education Network (SIREN)
Services, Immigration Rights and Education Network began as an ad-hoc coalition of immigrant rights activists and advocates in northern California. SIREN has grown to include policy analysis and advocacy, community education, citizenship application assistance, and community and service provider trainings. SIREN informs the community about the laws that affect the community and gets them involved in advocacy work to pass propositions and to support advocacy of the DREAM Act and CA DREAM Act.
How they can help: SIREN provides a space for meetings and use of their technical and audio equipment to enhance an event or meeting. Trainings and internships are also available.
Contact information: www.siren-bayarea.org, Tel: 408-453-3013