First Week at Centro Presente

Hi! My name is Ivonne Moreno and I am an intern at Centro Presente located in Somerville, MA. Centro Presente is a member-driven, state-wide, Latin American Immigrant organization dedicated to the self- sufficiency of the Latin American immigrant community of Massachusetts.  Centro Presente struggles for immigrant rights and for economic and social justice. Through the integration of community organizing, leadership development and basic services such as youth programs, adult education, and legal services, Centro Presente strives to give its member voice and build community power.

During this summer, I will be working in the legal department at Centro Presente, which provides legal services, educational trainings on immigrants’ rights to the Latino Community and works closely with politicians, religious groups and other community organization. This first week, we have been focusing on organizing the next educational training called “Citizenship Fair”, the main goal of which is to educate Latino immigrants that qualify for citizenship about the process of becoming a US citizen and the importance of voting.  My main responsibility has been getting in touch with immigrants who have come to the Centro and have said to be interested in becoming citizens and invite them to come to the next citizenship fair and how to sign up for the upcoming class to take the citizenship test.

One important event that has a big impact at Centro Presente has been President Obama’s announcement on June 15th giving opportunity to undocumented young people who qualify to obtain a two year permit to stay in the US legally and obtain a work permit to be able to work called deferred action. This announcement has been a joy and an achievement for the immigrant community and especially for those young people who have been in the United States since they were kids and have been unable to get jobs and go to college because of their immigrant status.  This week, we have been receiving a lot of calls from people asking about the deferred action and how they can apply if they qualify. In the weekly meeting staff, the Centro decided to do something like a forum and invite the community to give them all the information we have on the deferred action. I think it is very important to do since they are people who are trying to take advantage of this situation by asking people for money to apply for this permit when there is not even an application process and the ICE has 60 days to organize the application process.

In the weekly staff meeting, I was introduced to the people who work at the Centro Presente and the work they do. I was really impressed by the work they do and how passionate they are about fighting for the rights of the undocumented community. From this short period that I have been at Centro Presente, I feel that I will gain a deep understanding of the US immigration system as well as the many issues that undocumented people face in the United States. It has been great to also have a different working experience that I did not have the opportunity to get before.

– Ivonne Moreno ’13



2 thoughts on “First Week at Centro Presente”

  1. Hi Ivonne,
    the work you are doing sounds really great! Now is such an exciting time to be working on immigrant rights–especially with the election and the recent deferred action. I agree with you that the U.S. immigration system is really flawed, which is why organizations such as the one you are working with are SO important. I was wondering if Centro Presente is currently doing any work to advocate for the passage of the Federal DREAM Act? I was also really curious about the picture you posted–is it from a recent protest?

  2. Yeah, I think getting involved at this time with immigration issues has been a great experience since there is so much going on right now, this makes me want to get even more involved, even after my internship is over because I feel that there is so much work to be done. From what I know, Centro Presente is not doing any advocate work towards the Dream Act, right now Centro is working in different projects such as advocating for immigrants workers whose employers did not pay them or underpaid them, informing people about the Secure Community Programs and assisting Dreamers who qualify for the Differed Action. The picture is on the Centro Presente’s website, it was a rally they did before I started my internship.

    Ivonne Moreno

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