Building Leaders and Protecting

Our Families and Communities

Creando Líderes y Protegiendo a Nuestras Familias y Comunidades

There are nearly 1 million immigrants living in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and 36,000 of that population are immigrant youth. The economic strength and cultural vitality of the Inland Empire doesn’t just depend on the contributions of native-born residents—it is also powered by immigrants, like us. That’s why it’s crucial that immigrant youth learn to critically analyze our social conditions and take action to change them through civic engagement.  

The IEIYC is a grassroots non-profit organization led by undocumented youth for undocumented youth living in the Inland Empire. We are autonomous leaders who build power from the networks we’ve created to influence policy at the county, state, and federal levels. 

We actively fight to define our own outcomes for the long-term, while actively valuing and taking care of ourselves. Our community organizing, advocacy, and power building is focused on three major areas:

Mentoring and Empowering Youth

Empoderando a Nuestros Jóvenes

The IEIYC’s vision is to empower young immigrants through a region-focused lens to achieve social equity, dignity, inclusivity, and respect. We do this by providing various educational workshops, opportunities for engagement, and enriching programs that are mindful to our needs. 

Undocumented Mentorship Academy (UMA)

Fewer immigrants in the Inland Empire have a four-year degree (or more) compared to the rest of undocumented students throughout Southern California and the rest of our state. The high school to college pipeline for undocumented youth can be full of challenges and obstacles, from trying to finance an education without access to federal aid, to lack of adequate mentoring, and limited information on eligibility from post-secondary institutions. 

Because many low-income students are the first in their families to work toward higher education, they are often left depending on their schools to prepare them for college, which we find is not often the case.

To bridge the gap, the IEIYC created the Undocumented Mentorship Academy, a six-week program that provides a space for undocumented youth to enjoy mentorship opportunities, foster relationships with community leaders, engage in social activism, and develop skills geared towards preparing them for a career.

UMA consists of four cohorts, with a total of 56 students from cities throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Program highlights include:

  • Organizing 101, Know Your Rights, Social Justice History of the IE, and Civic Engagement as an Undocumented Student workshops.
  • Legislative visits to the offices of local and state representatives.
  • Campus tours to colleges with undocumented resource centers.
  • Increased social networks with leaders and other students.
  • $500 scholarship

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UndocuHealth Ambassadors Program

This program trains and equips a team of 10 immigrant individuals ages 18+ from San Bernardino and Riverside counties to advocate for preventative health care that is inclusive to everyone, regardless of immigration status. 

 

Through the UndocuHealth Ambassadors Program, we aim to do the following:

  • Increase the use of available medical programs.
  • Clear up any uncertainties about what constitutes a “public charge
  • Bring attention to the California Values Act (SB54) 
  • Clarify any misinformation that may prevent the undocumented population from seeking medical treatment.
  • Engage the ambassadors to be a part of the #Health4all campaign.

The 10 ambassadors in this program serve to engage at least 50 other community members from their circles through a series of health-related workshops, discussions about major health concerns, and opportunities for advocacy to build resilience within the IE’s immigrant community.

CA Dream Act Workshops

We host workshops about the California Dream Act around the same time applications open for this state financial aid program. Our team provides information and answers any questions high school seniors and college students may have about who qualifies for the CA Dream Act, when to apply, and how to complete the application. 

We also encourage undocumented students to think about:

  • Private v. public school options.
  • Differences between CSU, UC, and CC systems.
  • Financial aid options available to undocumented students.
  • Differences between the Dream Loan, AB 540, and the CA Dream Act.

Meetings with Local and State Leaders

The IEIYC is proud to support immigrant youth in uplifting their voices and building connections with local representatives throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties. During legislative visits, our members are introduced to governing leaders who have an influence on local policies. They share their experiences and discuss the impact that policy decisions have had on them and their families.

In these meetings, IEIYC members have the opportunity to shed light on issues that should be prioritized, potentially directing governmental leaders to focus on concerns that have a high urgency. Leaders we’ve met with so far include California Assemblymembers Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona), Jose Medina (D-61), and Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino); California State Senator Richard Roth (SD-31); and U.S. Representatives Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Norma Torres (CA-35), and Mark Tekano (CA-41).

Our Work Continues

In the face of political upheaval, changes to immigration policy, and even a global pandemic that has disproportionately affected our communities, we remain dedicated to our mission to provide mentorship, advocacy, and resources for immigrant youth to organize, mobilize, and dream in a safe space. 

Other initiatives we’ve led or continue to lead include:

  • COVID-19 Information and resources dissemination.
  • DACA info sessions and guidance.
  • Immigrant health advocacy presentations.
  • Navigating Higher Ed. As an Undocumented Student presentations.
  • Support for youth activists demanding the shutdown of Adelanto detention center.
  • Wellness and healing activities.
  • Census 2020 community engagement.
  • Know Your Rights presentations + Teatro Popular.

If you feel inspired and motivated to organize for change in your community, join us

Keeping Our Families Safe and Informed

Apoyando y Protegiendo a Nuestras Familias

From our involvement in campaigns such as AB 60 (the Safe and Responsible Driver Act), Health4All, Shut Down Adelanto, to hosting DACA clinics and collectively meeting at “retenes” or checkpoints to let folks know about their rights, the IEIYC’s support has been critical to immigrant youth and their families in the Inland Empire.

With almost 1 million immigrants living throughout San Bernardino and Riverside counties, it is vital that we raise awareness and garner public attention for the issues affecting our growing migrant community. We are constantly in touch with immigrant families, ensuring they’re directed to the appropriate medical, social, legal, and economic services they may need. 

We work to keep immigrant families not only informed, but also safe in every aspect of their lives, through initiatives like the following:

We work to keep immigrant families not only informed, but also safe in every aspect of their lives, through initiatives like the following:

    • Know Your Rights Workshops: Undocumented immigrants have basic rights under civil rights laws and the U.S. Constitution. We inform community members of their rights and how to exercise them, and give them steps they can take to protect themselves during an encounter with law enforcement.

    • Participation in the #ShutDownAdelanto Coalition: Members of the IEIYC have urged state and local officials to shut down Adelanto detention center since 2010. These private prisons exploit our friends and families, and make a profit at the expense of our wellbeing. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, we are still urging that detainees be freed and for ICE transfers to stop to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. We demand that private for profit prison corporations be held accountable for the harm they inflict on our community.

      The IEIYC has been involved in this fight in various ways through the years, including attending rallies, forums, press conferences, and civic visitation training; signing petitions, making calls, and emailing public comments to the Adelanto City Council; providing extra resources to undocumented families; and offering friendship and compassion to Adelanto detainees.

      #SafetyNet4all Campaign: Along with our partners in the region, the IEIYC continues to support the #SafetyNet4All campaign. One in 10 working people in California are excluded from relief, unable to get basic necessities just because of their immigration status. This relief would guarantee an eight-week wage replacement program that operates similarly to unemployment insurance, offering a weekly allowance to those who are experiencing economic hardship.

Healthcare Is a Fundamental Right

Todas Tenemos El Derecho de Vivir Una Vida Saludable

More immigrants in Riverside and San Bernardino counties lack health insurance compared to immigrants statewide. From collective action to individual practices, the IEIYC creates multiple, innovative ways for folks in the immigrant community to care for their physical and emotional health—a fundamental right that’s become more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Some of the ways we promote health and wellness among immigrant youth and their families in the Inland Empire include:

  • Organizing in support of the Health4all campaign to increase the undocumented community’s access to health insurance.

  • Collaborating with our partners to deliver community info sessions on how immigrants can advocate for their health.

  • Promoting healthy communities through our UndocuHealth Ambassadors Program.

  • Conducting policy research alongside UCR’s School of Public Policy for our UndocuElders.

  • Offering educational workshops to reduce the cultural stigma around mental health and self-care practices.

  • Focusing on healing justice to keep us centered and prevent burnout, and offering recreational activities that focus on the body, mind, and spirit such as healing circles, meditation, and yoga.

  • Accessing behavioral health training and resources offered by San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The IEIYC organizes the UndocuHealth Conference, an event where undocumented individuals and their families can readily access free medical services from physicians and health providers in the region.

Our UndocuHealth Conference also helps the immigrant community understand the healthcare system by educating and encouraging them to utilize any county, state, or federal resources available to them. We also use this event to inform and engage the community about the expansion of SB 29 (the Health4All campaign), provide Know Your Rights information packets, and remind folks of other avenues of support such as free legal consultations or upcoming workshops on advocacy.