SIRS: Policy & Advocacy

Breakthrough’s mission is to support first-generation college aspirants to achieve postsecondary success. We fundamentally understand that, no matter how much determination our students display and how much support they receive from their families, schools, and Breakthrough, the educational system can present barriers and challenges that get in the way. Our mission is rooted in commitments to educational equity and in the intertwined issues of health, economic, immigration, and racial justice, as the ability to go to school and realize one’s educational dreams is connected to many other factors in our society.

We are committed to supporting policies that positively impact college access and success directly, and also to addressing policies and other root causes outside the educational sector that impact the quality of life of students and their families, so they can be housed, healthy, and holistically supported to realize their goals.

Texas’s undocumented students’ and families’ experiences include real and ongoing challenges when pursuing their postsecondary educational goals in Texas. We recognize the humanity and dignity of all our community members, who have a right both to safety from deportation and detention and to access opportunities in education and beyond that allow them to thrive in our society.  At Breakthrough we are compelled to engage with our students and families, and with community partners, to advocate for public policymaking that helps all young people and their communities achieve their personal and professional definitions of success. 

Breakthrough engages in policy advocacy at the legislative, institutional, and internal levels. These efforts include influencing federal, state, and local policymaking, supporting institutional change at middle schools, high schools, and colleges and universities in our region, and developing and implementing better practices within Breakthrough’s own direct service model. 

Take Action

Drive Texas Adelante

Drive Texas Adelante has launched a campaign to create access to a conditional driver’s permit for Texas residents.

How can you take action?

Call on Texas Leaders to Support HB 1058 by recording a video to support a conditional driver’s permit for all Texans! Record yours here.

 

 

Take Action with RACIES

The Refugee and Immigration Center for Education & Legal Issues (RACIES)

The Refugee and Immigration Center for Education & Legal Issues’ mission is to defent the rights of immigrants and refugees, empower individuals, families, and communities and advocate for liberty and justice. See how you can take action here. 

Breakthrough’s Actions & Events for Immigration Justice

Actions

The American Coronavirus Relief Act: Breakthrough sent a letter to Ted Cruz to co-sponsor the American Coronavirus Relief Act regarding stimulus checks for mixed-status families (TBIC collab)

CARES ACT: Submitted comment to the Department of Education on their exclusionary language in the CARES act that prevents undocumented students from accessing federal emergency aid

 

Private Scholarship Initiative: 51 organizations, higher education institutions, and foundations led by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, Niskanen Center, and Every Campus a Refuge sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Cochran urging the agencies to incorporate college- and university-based sponsorship programs of refugee students and refugee families as part of any private sponsorship initiative established by the administration. Read the full letter here.

 

Catholic Charities: Breakthrough is proud to continue our relationship with Catholic Charities Central Texas to offer immigration legal aid and immigration related workshops to our students, families, and staff.

Click here for solidarity statements

Click here for family and student resources

 

Drive Texas Adelante Campaign: Signed a statement of support to advance conditional driver’s permit legislation for undocumented Texans and other communities who have difficulties accessing a driver’s license due to the current restrictive and burdensome eligibility requirements. 

 

Letters to House On Immigration Bills: As part of ACAN, advocate in writing for comprehensive immigration reform with federal delegates.

 

ACAN’s Coordinated Services Committee will focus on efforts to coordinate services across the IHEs and CBOs that support immigrant students and families. Click here to view the policy agenda.

 

Events

Catholic Charities: Breakthrough is proud to continue our relationship with Catholic Charities Central Texas to offer immigration legal aid and immigration related workshops to our students, families, and staff.

Click here for family and student resources and recordings of past webinars

 

TX PACE: Participate in TX PACE virtual event on “Financial Aid for Undocumented and DACA students.” Click here for more info.  

ADVOCACY PARTNERS & COALITIONS

As part of our broader advocacy efforts, we work in coalition with a variety of educational equity-focused coalitions who policy priorities include specific support for and advocacy with immigrant students and communities. 

Local Coalition Spotlight: Austin College Attainment Network (ACAN)

Breakthrough is proud to serve as the chair of ACAN’s Policy Committee. ACAN is a coalition of community-based organizations and institutions of higher education committed to advancing educational equity in the Central Texas region. The network is focused on supporting first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students to successfully complete high school, enroll in higher education, and earn a credential. ACAN engages in policy advocacy to support efforts to reduce barriers to postsecondary attainment.