Press Room


Los Angeles, CA --The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) welcomed news that House Republicans meeting in Washington, DC this week have drafted principles guiding their efforts to fix our broken immigration system.  CHIRLA received a leaked copy of the “Standards for Immigration Reform” Thursday.
After the break, comments for Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a state immigrant rights organization in California.

"Months after an immigration reform bill passed in the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, the House GOP leadership issues principles to fix our broken immigration system.  Having learned little from their recent mistakes, Republicans once again wield a strong fist against family unity and reunification and mistakenly refuse to see the benefits of establishing a fair and accessible path to citizenship for the aspiring citizens living in the U.S. without documents.  But words are not enough.  We need the House leadership to act with courage, wisdom, and without delay enacting legislation that seriously and permanently resolves the inhumane, costly, and unwieldy disarray of immigration laws in desperate need of fixing. 
Without the certainty of action, these principles are just hollow and useless propositions for an American public that has demanded action on this issue for too long.
When 1,100 immigrants are deported on a daily basis and when millions of families remain in the shadows, vulnerable, afraid, living an un-American life of abuse, disdain, and broken dreams, a set of tough words pale in significance. We will work with Congress and the White House to ensure the GOP standards made public today can become more than a beacon of hope but a rod for justice in a new America inclusive of every aspiring American who works hard for the opportunity, once granted to our nation’s forefathers, to become a full contributing citizen.
The question now becomes:  when will legislation reflective of these principles be introduced?”


First Anti-Immigrant Bill of 2014 Must be Defeated

Senate bill proposal by Senator Ayotte (R-NH) and Coats (R-IN) would strip away Child Tax Credit (CTC) from two million immigrant families and impact more than four million U.S. born children, many of whom are Latino.  Vote on the measure expected Tuesday or Wednesday.

The following is CHIRLA’s reaction to the proposed changes:

 "CHIRLA strongly opposes this anti-children and anti-immigrant proposal which would affect an unimaginable amount of immigrant families.  Two million families and four million US-born children would be directly affected. The debate is about how to keep American families out of poverty in a time of need and stripping this tax benefit would do just the opposite. More than 60% of the families using the refundable portion of this tax credit earn less than $25,000 annually.  

The CTC has proven to be effective in assisting these families in need.  We urge the Senate to oppose this proposal and any similar anti-family proposal.  We must continue to support our most vulnerable families and not create policy changes that would put them at an even greater disadvantage."


Out of Crisis Mode, California Must Invest in Health for All Families

Governor Brown’s proposed budget is a step in the right direction but California must ensure immigrant families have access to health care, safety net programs, and naturalization services

Los Angeles, CA – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) reacted with tempered optimism to Governor Brown’s budget announcement Thursday and issued his Administration an urgent call to invest in the health of millions of California families left out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).   As details of the budget proposal begin to emerge, CHIRLA commended Governor Brown’s foresight to increase funding for higher education, health care and some safety-net social programs, and the Department of Labor and DMV.

After the break, a statement for Joseph Villela, CHIRLA policy director.

“We are pleased to see the underpinnings of a financial blueprint that invests in California’s education, health care, road safety, and worker’s rights.  We are cautious as to the breadth and scope of the proposed budget priorities and remain committed to working with the Legislature and the Governor to ensure California immigrant families have access to health care, safety net programs, and naturalization services.


We are intrigued by a few of the budget’s proposals:

Whereas the governor’s budget proposes a 5 percent increase in safety-net programs we are unsure if the grants will benefit immigrant programs such as the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants or the California Food Assistance Program. 

The Governor’s proposed $26.3 billion for higher education comes with the caveat that community colleges, CSU, and UC system must undergo reforms.  What reforms he is asking for in exchange for the new funds is yet unknown but increased access to higher education by high school students, including undocumented immigrants, must be prioritized.

Proposed budget items, such as the $117.6 million to pay for changes in labor law regulations benefitting minimum wage earners and domestic workers, as well as the $64.7 million for the implementation of the new driver’s license which is expected to benefit 1.4 million drivers, indicate California is ready to buttress our state’s road safety and lead on protecting the rights of all workers

As more details emerge, CHIRLA will work alongside our partners in the State Legislature and the Governor’s office to ensure this budget continues to reflect a re-emergence from the dark days when, sometimes unwisely and cruelly, many Californians and immigrant families especially, were left out in the cold for the sake of financial solvency.”


Los Angeles, CA – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles applauded Sheriff Baca’s announcement Tuesday he is retiring.

The following is a statement for Angelica Salas, executive director for CHIRLA, an immigrant rights voice in Los Angeles with national impact.

“We applaud Sheriff Baca’s decision to step down a post he has mired in controversy and shame.  It is time for Los Angeles to have a more open, pro-immigrant, pro-Los Angeles community Sheriff. 

Sheriff Baca has been no friend to the immigrant community.   Thousands upon thousands of undocumented families living in Los Angeles County who committed no major offense have been deported and faced years of unscrupulous detentions and referrals to immigration officials through Mr. Baca’s misguided embrace of “Secure Communities.”  In addition to this abhorrent practice shunned by many of his colleagues elsewhere, a growing reputation that the Sheriff Department has become a lawless institution which commits abuse and racially profiles communities without impunity has raised plenty of red flags for voters.

Whatever his reasons for leaving, Sheriff Baca will not be missed by our community.  We expect the LAC Sheriff Department’s successor will have a lot of cleaning up to do should it expect to regain some of the community trust it lost as a result of the missteps, overreaches, and violations gone unchecked under Baca’s administration.”


Stop the Bloodletting, The Deportations Machine is So-Ancient Practice
For Immediate Release:  December 19, 2013
Los Angeles – On Thursday, immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced deportation numbers for fiscal year 2013, which ended Sept. 30. Total deportations numbered 368,644.
The following is a statement for Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA):
“President Obama is on pace to break the 2 million deportations record any day now, the most of any President in history.  The number of deportations announced by ICE, in light of years of lower or stagnant immigration levels and supposed prioritization by ICE, is a drop in the bucket.  Only a much larger drop would be significant.

Despite ICE’s so-called reforms, a near majority of deportees have no criminal record whatsoever.  Many have only minor convictions, the kind that will now be protected under the TRUST Act in California.  In order to justify the deportation of more “criminals,” ICE and the Department of Justice continue to prosecute more people as immigration violators, therefore deportable.  Even first-time entrants, not repeat offenders, are now classified as “criminals.”

We will hold newly-appointed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Johnson to his words that detention center and deportation quotas are unacceptable.  Any claim that today’s numbers represent a lack of quota or numeric goals is absurd.
Because congress failed to act in 2013 on immigration reform, a cruel and un-American reality permeates thousands of communities nationwide.  A climate of fear continues to reign in our communities, where interactions with local police can lead to a loved one becoming a statistic for next year's ICE press release. The woefully misguided concept of "self-deportation" lost at the last Presidential election and it should be clear now for all, including the Obama administration that "enforcement first" should also be consigned to the garbage dump of history.
As we have done here in California via the TRUST Act, we need to scale back ICE-police collaboration, keep our families together and ensure that Americans-in-waiting who will eventually benefit from immigration reform stay here where they belong.”


Cost of Inaction on Immigration Reform, Deportations,
Gnaw at Soul of Most Immigrant-American of Traditions
Immigrant families in Southern California hold Thanksgiving Day and Hanukkah celebrations calling on Republicans and Democrats to have a heart for immigrant families and move on reform with a pathway to wholesome integration, not half-way measures that push families into second-class status.
Los Angeles – Much like the Pilgrims of long ago, hundreds of immigrant workers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, and allies in Southern California will join this week to honor two quintessential immigrant-American holidays:  Thanksgiving Day and the first day of Hanukkah.  On Wednesday, November 27, 2013, immigration reform supporters will participate in a street march starting at 9 a.m., a rally, mass, and a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal and food-basket giveaway.  The actions in North Hollywood focus on the plight of immigrant families who have been torn apart by the broken and cruel immigration system.

WHAT:  “The Time is Now” Thanksgiving Day and Hanukkah celebration and immigration reform support rally and street march

WHEN:          Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2012, starting at 9:00 a.m.
9:00 a.m. – North Hollywood (N.H.) and Santa Clarita Rep. McKeon’s office, marchers start arriving
9:30 a.m. – NH Day Laborer Center – march begins through local streets
9:30 a.m. – Santa Clarita, Rep. McKeon’s Office – rally begins outside office
10:30 a.m. – Santa Clarita, Rep. McKeon’s Office action ends, marchers head to North Hollywood
11:00 a.m. – NH, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church, press conference with elected officials
11:30 a.m. – NH, mass
12:30 p.m. – NH, traditional Thanksgiving Day lunch, entertaintment
2:00 p.m. – N.H., food-basket giveaway
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, in Santa Clarita, more than seventy families will visit the office of Representative McKeon and call on him to shake hands with family members and wish them a healthy and happy Thanksgiving Day.  The rally outside his office will then head to North Hollywood for the mass and meal.


Rep. McKeon’s District Office, action outside Congressman’s office
26650 The Old Road Suite 203Santa Clarita, CA 91381
North Hollywood Day Labor Center, march gathering place, march starting place
11841 Sherman Way Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA  91605
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church, press conference, mass, lunch, food-basket giveaway
7800 Vineland Ave., Sun Valley, CA
A giant display consisting of white crosses each bearing a number to represent the two million undocumented immigrant workers who have been deported during the past five years will lead the procession.   
Day laborers, household workers, and immigrant families will also highlight the legislative victories achieved in California in 2013 such as the CA Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, the CA Driver License Bill, the TRUST Act, and the Minimum Wage Bill.  A press conference with elected officials and guests will take place right before the start of a celebratory mass, followed by a lunch.
CHIRLA and the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church and volunteers organizes this annual action.   

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 25, 2013

Congressman Valadao Holds Business Breakfast to Keep Momentum Forward on Immigration Reform with a Pathway to Citizenship
California leader joins businesses eager to strengthen immigration laws that meet 21st century needs


Bakersfield, CA – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) announced it will co-sponsor a breakfast with Central California business leaders in support of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.  The business breakfast is hosted by Bakersfield Congressman David Valadao (R-CA) on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 9:45 a.m. and followed by press conference with business leaders and Mr. Valadao.


As President Obama makes a strong pitch in California for immigration reform, leaders in California such as Mr. Valadao have been working with their party’s leadership and across the aisle to ensure they bring forth a real and permanent solution to our cruel and broken immigration system.  Meetings with diverse coalitions who have a stake on what happens with immigration reform and how it impacts California are part of Mr. Valadao’s efforts to continue the dialogue in house and in Washington, DC.


WHAT:  Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) hosts breakfast and press event with Central California businesses that are working to pass immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship that meets our diverse state’s 21st century needs.

WHEN:  Tuesday, November 26, 2013

10:45 a.m. – 11:15 – Private breakfast Private breakfast with business leaders – closed to press
11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Press conference with Mr. Valadao, business leaders, and others.

WHERE:  Perko’s Café, 2343 Girard St., Delano, CA  93215

WHO:  Rep. David Valadao (CA-21st), Central California business leaders in support of immigration reform, CHIRLA, and other community leaders.






For Immediate Release:  October 24, 2013

Nation Wins if House Passes Immigration Reform

Since the November 2012 election, Americans have clearly stated their expectation Congress must address the broken immigration system.  President Obama is right to call on the House to heed the people’s call and pass immigration reform without further delay.  Action is a win-win for all, said the President Thursday.

Los Angeles, CA – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) added its voice of support to President Obama’s message Thursday that the U.S. House of Representatives must pass immigration reform without delay.  The President, flanked by Vice-President Biden and leaders from various sectors including business, faith, labor, and immigrant rights organizations, reminded Congress the current sytem of immigration laws is broken and a solution is at hand and needs a vote.  Politics, said the President, should not be the prism used to approach the issue, but rather the good of the country.

The following is a statement for Angelica Salas, executive director for CHIRLA:

“Today, President Obama underscored the urgent need to fix a broken and cruel immigration system and urged the House of Representatives to move without delay on a comprehensive reform package that will help usher a new era of opportunity and integration for millions of undocumented immigrant workers who live in the U.S.

What the President said today should not be news to this Congress.  No sooner had the polls closed November 6, 2012 that a clear voter mandate emerged for Congress to overhaul our nation’s broken and cruel immigration system.   Since then, poll after poll reveals an American public ready to forego candidates and agendas that seek to criminalize and ostracize undocumented immigrant workers, opting instead for a measured and smart approach to legalization with a pathway to earned citizenship.  The proverbial pendulum on immigration reform shifted long ago and those who can see, have seen it, and those who can hear, have heard it. 

A minority in the House of Representatives, led by dinosaurs who refuse to accept the world around them is changing, has so far held immigration reform hostage, assisted by none other than House Speaker Boehner and Majority Whip McCarthy.  This people’s House has eyes but cannot see and ears but cannot hear, and unless its Republican and Democrat leadership reverses course and moves immigration reform forward, it risks not snatching victory from the jaws of embarrassing defeat after embarrassing defeat. 

President Obama is correct to point out that anyone still opposed to a reasonable solution to the immigration system quagmire should be dragged to every town’s center plaza and compelled to clearly explain his/her reasons.  Other than political shananigans, obtuse vision, and stubborness, there is no rationale for House leaders to delay action on immigration reform with a path to citizenship. The required 218 votes to pass legislation have been there since the August recess.  What we are missing is leaders who can step aside from the shadows of power, see with eyes of compassion and humanity, and hear when justice calls on them to do the right thing.

As President Obama reiterated Thursday, this can has been kicked down the road for far too long.  During the next two weeks, our community will be present anywhere the House leadership goes to remind them our nation needs them to get immigration reform done without delay.”





National survey highlights detrimental impact of current broken immigration laws on millions of U.S.-born children. A California Supplement offers insight into how fear of deportation impacts millions.

Los Angeles – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) praised a report issued by Human Impact Partners entitled “Family Unity, Family Health:  How Family-Focused Immigration Reform Will Mean Better Health for Children and Families,” (FUFH) which details how the well-being and safety of children whose parents are undocumented is fraught with fear, anxiety, and other harms.  CHIRLA was a core research partner and Advisory Committee member for the FUFH.  California Supplement explores the devastating effect the fear of deportation has on mixed status families, especially on US-born children.  The following are statements from:

Angelica Salas, Executive Director for CHIRLA.

“The voice of more than 4.5 million US-born children who live in families where one or more of their parents is undocumented has finally been captured by this much needed survey.  The findings in the FUFH survey will certainly tug at the heart and should press Congress to move immigration reform legislation without delay.

Not only will our children’s health be poorer if the threat of deportations continues unabated, schools will experience more children with behavioral problems, graduation rates and other educational outcomes will suffer, overall health and life span of adults in a mixed status family will decrease, poverty will increase, and we can expect more children with diminished access to food. 

This reality should make every American recoil in disgust because the solution for many of the conditions highlighted in the report is achievable through a bipartisan approach to immigration reform with a path to citizenship.  The question is, what is Congress waiting to act?”

Joseph Villela, CHIRLA Director of Policy

“It is absurd that 81% of California’s children who live in a household with one undocumented parent suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder because the threat of deportation of their loved is ever present.    This is not the American Dream for millions, it is the worst nightmare with no end.

The FUFH survey reflects the need to pass comprehensive immigration reform not only for the benefit of the 11 million undocumented workers living in the U.S. but a healthier, prosperous, strong nation.

CHIRLA members who participated in the survey reflect the urgency to find long-term solutions to our broken immigration system.  The health and well-being benefits for our communities, our children, and our future far outweigh partisanship, anti-immigrant sentiments, and racism which currently prevents laws to be just and fair.  We trust the survey’s impact will be long felt if legislators in Sacramento and Washington, DC take its recommendations seriously.  It is not enough to say we value life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We must do something to foster a sense of safety for millions of children in America.”

The HIP FUFH report: The California Supplement:


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On Wednesday the California Dream Network released a statement referencing the nomination of former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to head UC system:

"The largest undocumented immigrant student organization in the United States, the California Dream Network, a project of CHIRLA, welcomes the nomination of the first woman to head the prestigious University of California system. If confirmed, Ms. Janet Napolitano can expect to hear from and work alongside strong immigrant student organizations who know her well from her previous roles as Arizona’s governor and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

Under her leadership as DHS Secretary, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was responsible for 1.5 million deportations, the most ever under any Administration, causing pain, disenfranchisement, and turmoil to countless students and their families. Although acknowledging our nation’s immigrations laws are broken, Secretary Napolitano could have championed a more humane and compassionate enforcement of the laws, but other than the Deferred Action program, she failed to do so. Instead, programs such as the 287(g) agreements and the ill-named “Secure Communities” proliferated under her watch.

We trust Ms. Napolitano recognizes California is one of the most immigrant-friendly states in the nation. As the leader of the most diverse student body in the nation, we expect her to use the bully pulpit to strongly protect the rights of every student regardless of immigration status and to advocate for increased financial support opportunities for children of working class families, especially AB540 students. Similarly, we expect Ms. Napolitano to take a firmer stand to stop the criminalization of undocumented working families, end deportations, and win passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship for dreamers and their families.

Californians know Ms. Napolitano well, but now, for the benefit of our collective success, we give ourselves the opportunity to have her get to know us. The great challenges and opportunities that face the UC System will require a leader with creativity, compassion, determination, and vision. It is clear that Ms. Napolitano is a leader who cherishes public service. The CDN looks forward to assisting her in excelling at it.”