Guiding Principles

The CCNY Immigrant Student Resource and Research Center’s work is driven by values that acknowledge and embrace the complexity of the immigrant experience. Our Center is inspired by the work and grounding principles developed by the CUNY-Initiative on Immigration and Education, housed at The City College of New York.

Our work’s underlying values are:

We center the well-being of immigrant and undocumented students. We prioritize the well-being of immigrant and undocumented students and community members by fostering an environment that respects their dignity and values their unique experiences. We aim to be a safer space where students and community members can feel comfortable to be their full selves. While recognizing our own limitations, we seek to listen and center the concerns of undocumented students and community members.

Black Immigrant Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Although Black immigrants make up the smallest percentage of immigrants in the United States, they are more likely to be targeted for deportation. By centering the lives and experiences of those who are most vulnerable, we can advocate for equality for everyone. 

The immigration experience is complicated.  Reasons for migrating to the US vary among individuals and families, but leaving one’s home, family, language and culture is often traumatic. While some immigrants come to the US for economic opportunity, financial struggle may persist as a challenge for newcomers. Contrary to the issues faced, mainstream rhetoric tends to perpetuate a narrative that suggests that immigrants are happier in the US than in their home countries. This perception is reinforced by messages extolling assimilation and patriotism.  In addition to other challenges, immigrants frequently encounter second-class treatment, are denied citizenship and meaningful social and political participation, and face hostility in the form of violent laws and policing practices in the US.

Migration can be traumatic. We must recognize that students’ and community members’ experiences with migration may have been traumatic. We wish to understand and recognize these experiences by incorporating mental health resources and socioemotional support in our work.

The immigrant experience exists beyond the Latinx narrative. The rhetoric on immigrant rights in the United States often centers Latinx communities, and specifically the Mexican experience. In reality, the immigrant experience in the US encompasses many countries, races, and ethnicities. As we seek to work to create and provide equitable opportunities for all immigrant students, it is vitally important to recognize and make space for immigrants outside the Latinx diaspora.

No one is illegal on stolen land.  We believe that no person should be defined in terms of their immigration status, and we are opposed to the dehumanization of anyone through the use of the term ‘illegal’. This notion is further complicated by the history of colonization in the United States. New York State resides on lands stolen from Native people: Lenape, Haudenosaunee, Mohican, Abenaki, Erie, Canarsie, Rockaway, Algonquin, Merrick, Massepequas, Matinecock, Nissaquogues, Setaukets, Corchaug, Secatogue, Unkechaug, Shinnecock, Montaukett, and Mannansett.

We aim to transition from mere allyship to engaging as active accomplices. Our efforts are centered on creating opportunities for the CCNY community to progress from ally involvement to accomplice collaboration. While an ally supports marginalized individuals or groups through activism, an accomplice is dedicated to dismantling oppressive structures affecting those communities. The direction of this work is guided by the stakeholders within the marginalized group. Our work seeks to foster allyship while simultaneously addressing and transforming structures that affect immigrant students.

These principles were adapted from the CUNY-IIE Grounding Principles authored by Dr. Cynthia Carvajal.

Last Updated: 02/09/2024 13:36