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Build the Power
and Voice of Immigrants

People come to the United States for the promise of freedom and opportunity. How we follow through on that promise defines us as a nation. The Haas, Jr. Fund’s immigration work is rooted in our founders’ respect for the immigrants they saw working for a better life, and in an abiding belief in fair and equitable treatment for all people.

Immigration Makes Us Stronger

In the next decade immigrants will play a crucial role in ensuring the workforce growth that is essential to future U.S. economic success.

Boosts the Economy

A modernized immigration system will lead to higher wages and increased tax revenue to support essential government functions that benefit us all. Immigrants establish companies, create jobs, and drive innovation.

New citizens average higher earnings, become more engaged in their communities, and can participate politically.

Creates Opportunity

People come to the U.S. to provide better opportunities for themselves and their children. Immigration has enriched American communities throughout history.

More than 5 million children under age 18 live with at least one undocumented immigrant parent.

Strengthens Families and Communities

Families are stronger and more stable when parents and children can stay together and have opportunities to thrive.

Unleashing Potential

More than 11 million people are living in the U.S. without legal status. Eliminating barriers to immigration creates opportunities for these aspiring Americans, allowing them to unleash their potential, fully participate in society and contribute to the country they call home.

The United States needs a fair and efficient immigration system so that undocumented immigrants can join the mainstream of society and stop living in the shadows. It’s time to change the system so that:

Skilled workers

who contribute to the economy can be joined by their families.


can recruit foreign-born workers to meet the country’s labor needs.


who graduate can go on to share their skills and realize their dreams.


across the nation can be protected from exploitation and discrimination.

Immigrants are Essential

The COVID-19 pandemic has only confirmed that immigrants are essential, to our communities, our families, and our economy.

Gaining Momentum

The immigrant rights movement is one of the most dynamic social movements of our time—and it is making real progress. Today, nearly three quarters of all Americans support immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. But, while we’re moving closer than even before, we still don’t have an equitable and inclusive immigration system.

In recent years, forces have used the issue of immigration to divide Americans, imposed harsh policies that have separated families, denied refuge to those fleeing violence and persecution, limited immigrants’ rights and opportunities, and harmed families. Among those suffering the most are children, with thousands enduring separation from family members, inhumane detention, and lack of due process.

Forges Ahead


Of the 11 million undocumented people in the U.S., 3 million call California home. That’s one-quarter of the national total.


California’s economy is dependent on immigrants, who contribute to all sectors and make up more than one-third of the state’s workforce.


More than two-thirds of the state’s undocumented immigrants have lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years. They are our neighbors, colleagues, family, and friends.

California has taken some important steps to expand the rights of immigrants, including:

  • Providing public and private financial aid for Dreamers

  • Ensuring domestic workers have the basic right of overtime pay

  • Limiting police collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • Making it legal for all Californians to apply for a driver’s license

  • Allowing undocumented law students to apply to the California Bar

How We’ll Get There

Build a Movement for Young Immigrants

The Haas, Jr. Fund is working with partners in California and nationally to:

  • Limit the separation of families, the deportation of Dreamers, and create a path to citizenship for these young people.

  • Increase access to opportunities in California for healthy development, educational attainment and workforce integration for immigrant youth.

  • Model for the nation how the California border can be well-governed, and how we can protect the border and the nation in ways that are humane and civil toward children and unaccompanied youth.

Program Staff

Elica Vafaie Read Elica’s Bio

Elica Vafaie Program Director, Immigrant Rights

Elica leads the Fund’s strategies and partnerships to build the power and amplify the voices of immigrants to find safety, opportunity, and representation in California and nationwide.

Our streets may not be paved with gold, but they are paved with the promise that men and women who live here—even strangers and newcomers—can rise as fast, as far as their skills will allow, no matter what their color is, no matter what the place of their birth.

Senator Edward Kennedy