Valley Immigration Stories Project

Sharing the human side of the immigration debate in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Valley Immigration Stories Project works to amplify the voices of immigrants in the Shenandoah Valley in order to share the human side of the immigration debate. With the national discussion underway, we strive to localize these issues with the faces & stories of those who are affected the most.

We hope to share their stories to create a deeper understanding of immigration while providing facts and figures about immigrants and immigration reform. The Valley Immigration Stories Project is a joint effort of the New Bridges Immigrant Resource Center and Virginia Organizing.


Sandy's Story

Isabel's Story

Aaram's Story

Soledad's Story

Wilfredo's Story

Cha Cha's Story


Many people have misconceptions about immigrants. Here are a few facts about immigration in America.

Countries of Origin

This map depicts the countries of origin of many immigrants to the Shenandoah Valley. Compiled by the Valley Immigration Stories Project at the Harrisonburg International Festival.


The following graphs are based on information from the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis.

Regions of Origin, %

Immigrants in Virginia's 6th Congressional District






Educational Attainment - College Degree, %

Immigrants in Virginia's 6th Congressional District






Where do newcomers to the Valley arrive from and how much education do they bring with them to America?

Immigration Policy Timeline, Post-WWII

In a melting pot such as America, the discussion about immigration has continued for decades and the debate about immigration reform is ongoing.

fact bubble

Bracero Program

1943: The Bracero Program, a bilateral treaty with Mexico, allowed Mexico to provide temporary farm workers to the US during World War II.


Immigration & Nationality Act

1952: The Immigration and Nationality Act, passed over President Truman’s veto, reaffirmed the national origins quota system, limited immigration from the east while leaving the west unrestricted, and tightened security and screening standards.


INA of 1965

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 eliminated national origins quotas. The Bracero Program ended.


INA Amendments

1976: Amendments to INA limit immigration from the west, directly impacting Mexican immigration.

1978: Additional amendments to the INA eliminate the ability of children born in the US to petition for the legal entry of their parents until the age of 21.


1986: The Immigration Reform and Control Act was a comprehensive reform effort that legalized certain illegal aliens, established sanctions prohibiting employers from hiring aliens unauthorized to work in the US, and added a new classification of temporary agricultural workers.


Immigration Act of 1990 & IIRIRA

The Immigration Act of 1990 raised the quota ceiling. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act created stricter laws on admission and deportation. It also made it more difficult for a person that had entered the US illegally to gain legal status.


The Dream Act

2007: The Dream Act, a bill that would have provided conditional permanent residency for undocumented immigrant minors who either attend college or serve in the military, failed to pass the US Senate. It has been re-introduced and considered in various forms from 2009-2011.



2012: After repeated failures of The Dream Act, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) memorandum granted a 2-year deferral of deportation for some individuals who immigrated illegally to the US as children.


* Click the dates above to view more information about key events that have shaped the discussion about immigration policy in America.


Join the Comprehensive Immigration Reform debate. Make your voice heard.

Reach out to your local politicians by phone, email, or postal mail, and tell them that the stories of Sandy, Isabel, Wilfredo, Soledad, Cha Cha, and Aaram affected you.

Not in the Shenandoah Valley? If you live outside of the Shenandoah Valley, you can use GovTrack US to find your members of Congress.


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