Coalition of African, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants of Illinois

Walters, J.

Dale Asis and his colleagues have built a remarkable 19-member coalition in the wake of the 1996 federal immigration policy reforms. Cohesion now exists in a community where immigrant groups once worked in isolation. This includes a shared approach to some service delivery as well as policy strategies and intentional development of new immigrant leaders. Asis and CAAELII have used the following framework to build their coalition: Improve INS Services to Immigrants: An initial campaign to document INS shortcomings and recommend solutions brought diverse communities together with a passion. Include All Members Equally: Because of a genuine sense of inclusion and acceptance, members trust one another. Gathering and sharing cultural experiences has been remarkably simple and effective in building this trust. Address English Language Skills and Citizenship Testing: The coalition developed a Teacher's Toolbox for folding U.S. history, civics and fundamental rights into the everyday life of immigrants. This resource is widely used across ommunities as they all work to prepare immigrants to learn English or to pass citizenship tests. Cultivate Immigrant Leaders: CAAELII's Community Building Project prepares Community Ambassadors to address local and systemic problems.