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Closing the Gap in Understanding Immigrant Rights as Civil Rights

By Cecilia Chen & Robin Goldfaden

The racialized history of immigrants in America shows that, in fact, the immigrants’ rights movement is part of the civil rights movement. Over time, more and more advocates have recognized the relationship between immigrant rights and civil rights. Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area was primarily devoted to representing the African American community, but in 1981 the organization founded its Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. Examining the organization’s struggles to integrate immigrant rights work into its civil rights vision reveals a new dimension to our understanding of racial justice.

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