From our origins during WWI, AFSC has been committed to opening hearts and communities to refugees and migrants. Decades of work in regions plagued by war, drought, famine, and economic oppression have given us an up-close view of the “push factors” of migration.

We have also confronted the abuse of those migrating across borders. In the late 1970s, we began work at the U.S.–Mexico border and in 1987 our Immigration Law Enforcement Monitoring Program (ILEMP) was one of the first efforts to address human-rights abuses by the U.S. Border Patrol. At the same time, AFSC programs in San Diego, Newark, South Florida, Denver, and elsewhere were also becoming active in various immigration issues.

In 2002, this work was united as Project Voice, which laid out a strategy and principles for achieving comprehensive immigration reform. Those ideas influence our work today, as we document abuses, provide legal services, accompany migrant and immigrant movements, and build alliances with others who share our vision.

Learn More

  • Woman speaks in front of a news microphone with men standing behind her.
    In 1987, Maria Jimenez founded ILEMP, AFSC’s counter-surveillance program for border patrol activity along the U.S.-Mexico border. Based in Houston, Texas, Jimenez solicited and investigated reports of violence and racial profiling.
  • Man speaks into a microphone with others standing behind him.
    Roberto Martinez (with microphone) coordinated ILEMP activities in San Diego, California. From 1987-90, ILEMP documented 380 cases of excessive force, racial harassment, and sexual assault.
  • Young adults sit and stand together in a large group holding megaphones and signs.
    Our “Project Voice” brought immigrants and allies together to push for comprehensive immigration reform and a clear path to citizenship.
  • Graphic with butterflies reads "What would fair, humane immigration reform look like?"
    The principles that guide our work with immigrant communities come from nine decades of experience. Published originally as “A New Path,” these principles have influenced other immigrant rights groups, as well.
  • Large group of protesters stand, holding signs, in front of a building with purple walls.
    In 2002, our Denver office helped immigrant workers start “El Centro,” the first immigrant- run day laborers’ organization in Colorado.
  • A multi-age group holds signs and a U.S. flag.
    AFSC staff and partners around the country joined the millions of people rallying for immigration reform in 2006.
  • Man and woman stand together as the woman speaks into a microphone.
    AFSC piloted our Citizenship Training Institute in Florida in 2008, reaching out to the region’s immigrant communities with leadership development courses.
  • Men and women wearing white clothing dance together.
    At AFSC’s Pan Valley Institute (PVI) in California, immigrants can learn, organize, and develop leadership skills. Each year PVI’s Tamejavi Festival brings the diverse communities of the Central Valley together to celebrate their cultures.
  • Man and woman go into a building with children.
    Preventing family separation has been a major theme of our work. Here, an immigrant family from New Jersey participates in a 2014 Capitol Hill lobbying day coordinated by our Newark office.
  • Large group of people march in street holding drawings of men who were killed by border patrol.
    In May 2015, AFSC co-sponsored a rally in San Diego protesting killings by the Border Patrol.
  • Woman stands with other protesters, holding a sign reading "end the quota."
    At this 2015 demonstration, we joined partners to demand an end to the Congressional mandate that requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to maintain 34,000 beds for immigrant detention at all times.