The Hispanic Affairs Project (HAP) was created in 2005 by Hispanic immigrant leaders from the communities of Grand Junction, Delta, Olathe, Montrose and Hotchkiss. These first-generation leaders participated in faith formation programs within the Catholic Church, and realized the need to reach a rapidly changing population. Addressing the needs of the new Hispanic immigrant community in the Western Slope led to action, organization, and the formation of HAP.
Nationally, the immigrant rights movement ignited around comprehensive immigration reform and HAP members worked tirelessly for federal legislation to address the broken immigration system. Improving the challenges faced by immigrant families, such as lack of integration, social inequalities, and limited opportunities for economic development, remains the focus of our work. At the local, state and federal level, we advocate for pro-immigrant policy changes that protect and defend immigrants. We are grateful to fill a unique niche in the region, and are proud of our achievements made for and by the Hispanic community:
- Federal victory to increase the salary for H-2A foreign workers in the US Sheep industry and defeating the DOL and DHS in a final US District of Columbia Court of Appeals decision, to bring better immigration provision to sheepherders workers to overcome discriminatory labor abuses.
- Providing immigration legal assistance to nearly 1000 families to help them overcome the challenges that come with a lack of immigration status.
- Participated in the foundation of Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), and collaborated as key organization members since 2006 in annual legislative campaigns advocating for more inclusive laws to protect communities of color and low income families in Colorado.
- Organized the Western Colorado Justice for Immigrants Committees (WCJFIC), with more than 180 leaders of 13 communities across the region, providing training, resources and advocacy capacity for the wellbeing of the society.
- Partnering in voter registration and mobilizing Hispanic voters during the local, state and federal elections as part of our regular civic engagement activities.
- Participated in state and federal networks as the New American Campaign (NAC), Mexican Screening Project, Health Equity response team (HEART state of Colorado), Colorado Human Trafficking Council, among others.
- Providing resources to more than 1,500 families on an annual basis. HAP facilitates over 25 educational workshops, including leadership training for community members, but also, participating in coalitions and collaborations with other agencies in the region.
- Joining the state I-Drive Colorado campaign to fix and expand the SB-251 state driver’s license program for undocumented residents. As an authorized community partner, we help individuals prepare for their driver’s license appointment. We aim to keep people and the roads that we all use safe.
- Playing a key role in Welcoming Colorado Initiative and Welcoming America, to educate community members, governmental entities, and elected officials on introducing better practices and policies to create safe and inclusive communities in Western CO.
- Active involvement and participation in the Health Equity Advocacy Team to strengthen community knowledge and awareness about issues of discrimination, bias and inequality impacting our communities.
- Joining forces with the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault to provide sexual assault and domestic violence prevention education and outreach in rural communities in the Western Slope.
- Organizing, in partnership with local Police Departments, annual Latino Police Academies. Improved understanding of legal protections and heightened trust between immigrant and police communities is key to cooperation!