ADVOCACYILAP’s systemic advocacy is aimed at ensuring that Maine and the U.S. have laws and policies that create a hospitable and just environment for immigrants and their U.S. citizen family members. In December, 2005, ILAP founded the Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition (MIRC), bringing together allies such as Centro Latino Maine, American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, the Maine Council of Churches, Maine Migrant Health Program, Maine Peoples Alliance, NAACP Portland Branch, Peace Action Maine, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Tengo Voz, and others to work together and identify issues affecting Maine’s immigrant communities and to advocate collectively for solutions. This collaboration helps address immigrant issues in a holistic and comprehensive way.
In addition to founding MIRC, ILAP's advocacy efforts have been instrumental to achieving many policy changes in Maine, for example:
- Revision of procedures manuals of various state agencies to ensure Maine’s immigrants will not be erroneously denied driver’s licenses or benefits.
- Improved access for individuals with limited English language skills to Maine’s courts through work with the Maine Judicial Branch.
- Defeat of a proposal to eliminate safety net public benefits to elderly and disabled immigrants and refugees by providing critical information to Maine’s Legislature.
- Passage of a Portland ordinance preventing City employees from asking about immigration status unless otherwise required by State or Federal law.
- Passage of a state statute to address human trafficking in Maine, creating criminal penalties for traffickers and civil remedies for trafficking victims (frequently immigrants).
- Passage of Maine’s first law addressing Bias-based profiling and work on an Advisory Committee created to draft policies against bias-based profiling. Read the Committee's Report to the Maine Legislature here.