Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker


This case study describes and analyzes the work of advocacy work of PUEBLO, a human and immigrant rights organization in Santa Barbara, California. The paper focuses on the ongoing campaigns of PUEBLO and its allies, including national and state-level organizations and coalitions, to influence one of the most recent federal immigration policies, titled Secure Communities. It also addresses PUEBLO’s advocacy to change local law enforcement policies or practices which have targeted Hispanic residents, including undocumented immigrants, for traffic citations and car impoundments. Based on knowledge acquired through my six month, full-time internship with PUEBLO and through various forms of primary and secondary research, the paper discusses different dimensions of the advocacy work. First, following a brief overview of the political, economic and demographic context of Santa Barbara County, the paper discusses PUEBLO’s role and capacities as the only one of over 200 local nonprofits in that is focused on immigrant rights. Next, the paper discusses the stated purpose of the Secure Communities policy, which creates relationships between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement agencies to determine if persons in jail or accused of a crime are undocumented immigrants, leading to deportations. It then describes the immigrant rights movement’s critique of that policy, especially how it has been used to deport persons who are outside the policies target group, and some of the federal level changes in response to their advocacy. The paper then focuses on the local context. After the Santa Barbara County Sheriff signed an agreement to implement Secure Communities without public or even local government input, PUEBLO pressured him to rescind the agreement. The paper describes this effort, as well as parallel efforts to influence the Chief of the Santa Barbara City Police regarding practices that were disproportionately harmful for the local immigrant population. A major focus is a detailed vii description of the PUEBLO’s advocacy strategy and planning process regarding the above policies and practices, including its emphasis on grassroots education and mobilization. The paper concludes with a summary of progress in this ongoing effort and an identification of general lessons about advocacy that can be learned from the work of PUEBLO.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


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