The San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center (SLVIRC) is a unique organization and has a long history of working with immigrants. It has been an informal resource center for immigrants in the area since 1987. One of several programs created by San Luis Valley Christian Community Services, the Immigrant Assistance Program grew out of low-income immigrants' need for assistance in filling out essential applications for political asylum, amnesty, and other legal status. In February 2003, the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center received 501 (c) (3) status with the Internal Revenue Service, and is currently an independent non-profit located in Alamosa, Colorado, serving the entire San Luis Valley and beyond.
SLVIRC serves a geographically remote area in south-central Colorado , which is roughly the size of Connecticut . The area is home to more than 40,000 residents and 10,000 migrant and seasonal workers. The population is almost 50% Hispanic, and there are more than 400 Q'anjob'al Indians (Guatemalans) living in the San Luis Valley . It is one of Colorado's poorest regions, with much of the population living below the poverty level. Two of the valley's six counties are the poorest in the state and among the poorest in the nation. The majority of the clientele served is of Mexican and Guatemalan descent.
The San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center has three current areas of focus:
Immigration Legal Assistance:
Accredited through the Bureau of Immigration Affairs and overseen by the Colorado Lawyers Committee Immigration Task Force, this program provides thorough information about the process of becoming legal residents and/or citizens of the United States, and helps to prepare immigration applications. The services provided include: citizenship, legal residency, work permits, translations, immigration attorney referrals, initial consultations, and immigrant advocacy. As immigrants are financially unable to afford legal counsel, IRC operates on a minimum fee base and no one is turned away.
Punto de Vista - Outreach and Education:
This program provides education and outreach to immigrants in the San Luis Valley. English classes are or have been offered in Alamosa, Center, Monte Vista, Blanca/Fort Garland and La Jara, and child care is provided for these classes. Citizenship classes are also available. The focus is on educating immigrants to become active participants in their community, by addressing factors that impact immigrants' ability to be successful with education and employment, develop social support, and build self-esteem. For more information on class times and locations, call: (719) 587-3225.
Por Tí Misma - Outreach to Battered Immigrants:
The center assists immigrants who have suffered mental or physical abuse at the hands of a US citizen or legal resident spouse or parent. Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), such immigrants may apply for legal status on their own, without needing to rely on an abuser to do so for them.
All three of the IRC programs have been highly successful and meet our mission "To connect and empower immigrants with resources to achieve legal documentation, fulfill their economic needs, and integrate into the community."
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To connect and empower immigrants with resources to achieve legal documentation, fulfill their economic needs, and integrate into the community.
Jeanne "Gigi" Darricades
Beatriz Garcia Waddell