Each year, SDIRC gives out awards to organizations and individuals who have gone above and beyond in advancing immigrant and refugee rights and helping immigrant and refugee communities. There are two divisions for the awards -- external and internal. The external division is to recognize partners who are not SDIRC members for the important work they've done over the year. The internal division is for organizations that are SDIRC members, and is to recognize excellent work within the coalition.
Here are this year’s External Division Nominations:
Public Partner of the Year
- Mexican Consulate - San Diego and Imperial Valley for providing financial support to Mexican nationals needing support for USCIS fees and other needs, and for speaking out against border patrol violence.
- Census Bureau - SD Office for their efforts to reach minority communities to be counted for the recent census
- Vista Unified School District for their commitment to all families in the border region. In April the VUSD passed a resolution embracing a New Border Vision making them the first governing body in our region to publicly ask Congress to push forward policies using the NBV framework. This is a special win giving that VUSD is in one of the most historically conservative areas in our county.
Outstanding Coverage of Immigrant Issues
- Laura Castañeda, San Diego Union Tribune for coverage of the situation in Otay Mesa Detention Center during the pandemic
- Kate Morrissey, San Diego Union Tribune for her series RETURNED, and for her extensive reporting on asylum seekers
- Manuel Ocaño, El Latino San Diego for his continued coverage of the border region as contributor to different newspapers and online publications.
- Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS for his outstanding coverage of social justice issues. In particular, his coverage of protests following George Floyd's death.
Community Partner of the Year (non-SDIRC member)
- Detention Resistance (formerly Otay Mesa Detention Resistance) for their incredible efforts to fight back against the horrific conditions at OMDF during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for their work highlighting the ICE detainees in Otay Mesa and all over US
- Invest in San Diego Families for the work done in IR issues at the County level: expanding budget for refugee services, obtaining $2.5 million to the County FY21 budget for translation services across County Departments.
- Herencia Hispana for Kermés (fundraisers) for families that are struggling financially including food/toy drives
- Black Lives Matter San Diego for organizing a powerful car caravan protest following the death of George Floyd and for unapologetically continuing to fight for Black lives.
- National Bail Fund Network for their incredible efforts to coordinate bail and bond funds across the country, and to raise money to get individuals out of detention during the COVID-19 crisis.
Elected Official of the Year
- Carlsbad Councilmember Dr. Priya Bhat Patel for efforts to pass hotel workers recall ordinance
- Escondido Councilmember Olga Diaz for her tireless efforts to be the voice of community at Escondido City Hall.
- Supervisor Nathan Fletcher for pushing to hold the TRUTH Act forum during a time that was convenient and accessible for most community members, making certain to ask the questions that community members were not able to ask during the forum, and for his strong commitment to holding the Sheriff accountable to SB 54.
- San Diego Councilmember Georgette Gomez for her service and leadership as Council President.
- Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez for taking leadership in calling the health county office accountable for the outbreak of covid-19 at the Otay Mesa Detention Center.
- Senator Kamala Harris for her continued support of DACA.
- VUSD Trustee Cipriano Vargas for working with SDIRC and SBCC to pass a New Border Vision resolution. Vista is historically one of the most conservative cities in our county, but Trustee Vargas and other community leaders have stepped up to change that. In his time as a Trustee in the VUSD, Trustee Vargas has championed multiple resolutions and staff directives to address the needs of all students, especially immigrant families. Among those accomplishments he has directed staff to allocate district resources for KYRs presentations, training of staff about resources for immigrant families after a deportation, and resolution in support of DACA and a New Boarder Vision.
- Congressmember Juan Vargas for always responding to requests for support and intervention from legal partners, and for relentlessly advocating for immigrants.
Here are the Internal Division Nominations:
Worker Justice Partner of the Year
- Labor Council of San Diego and Imperial Counties for mobilizing union members across the county to hold food banks each weekend during the pandemic.
- UNITE HERE Local 30 for seeking partnerships with legal service providers to ensure their constituents get immigration support, and for their campaign for Hotel Worker Recall Ordinances in San Diego and Carlsbad
Legal Partner of the Year
- ACLU San Diego & Imperial Counties for their work holding ICE and private detention facilities accountable for the horrific conditions they are holding people under during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their tireless efforts led to the release of over a hundred individuals who were medically vulnerable and at high risk of catching COVID-19.
- Catholic Charities San Diego for their continued service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Jewish Family Services for the direct services they provided, their participation in litigation and sheltering services for people being released from DHS custody
Community Partner of the Year (SDIRC member)
- American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) for their work and campaign to highlight various issues facing migrants/immigrants including the situation in Otay Mesa and killings and brutality of immigration agents at the border.
- Border Angels for the ongoing work they do to provide those in need with the funds to get their freedom and their extensive support of SDIRC’s work.
- Espacio Migrante for their work on the Tijuana region to help migrants who are awaiting their case under the MPP and navigating the covid 19 crisis
- Oxfam America for their initial contribution to launch our Immigrant Relief Fund. In the first weeks of the stay-at-home orders that slowed down entire industries, OxFam reached out to SDIRC to look for ways to help workers who do not have access to government benefits. This conversation led to the creation of the SDIRC Immigrant Relief Fund.
- San Diego Border Dreamers for organizing rally the day we won SCOTUS case, offering a space to undocumented community members as we struggled with the constant attacks against our community and DACA program
- South Bay People Power for their contributions to make the 2020 SD Truth Act one of the most successful ones. Represented by Maggie Baker, SBPP participated in all the conversations in preparation leading up to the forum, including meetings with the Board of Supervisors and staff. They helped facilitate and ensure the participation of affected community members, they also recruited and prepared many community members to provide public comment against the collaboration between SD Sheriffs and ICE/BP.
We thank all of these organizations for their amazing work supporting immigrants and refugees in San Diego and Imperial Counties!