Our Mission

CHIRLA’s mission is to achieve a just society, fully inclusive of immigrants.

CHIRLA was founded in 1986 to advance the human and civil rights of immigrants and refugees. CHIRLA was envisioned as a place for organizations and individuals concerned with human rights to work together on policies to advance justice and full inclusion for all immigrants.

CHIRLA’s first director was Father Luis Olivares, the pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church. As a leading voice of the Sanctuary movement, Olivares used his church to protect refugees fleeing human rights abuses in Central America in the 1980s.

CHIRLA has since become one of the largest and most effective advocates for immigrant rights, organizing, educating and defending immigrants and refugees in the streets, in the courts, and in the halls of power.

At CHIRLA, civically engaged immigrants and their families working for a world where they are free to move, participate in democracy, and enjoy human rights. CHIRLA takes its cue from the power, love, and vision of our community to organize and build power among people, institutions, and coalitions to change public opinion and craft progressive policies for full human, civil and labor rights for everyone.

Our Story

For more than 30 years, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) has empowered immigrants to push policies that promote freedom of movement, full human rights, and the vigorous civic action that strengthens this democracy.

Our Achievements

  • Aug 5, 2020

    1986

    Progressive activists found the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) to respond to the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), that won amnesty for 2.7 million individuals but also made hiring undocumented workers illegal 

  • Aug 5, 2020

    1989

    CHIRLA successfully advocates for the opening of the country's first day labor center in the U.S.

  • Aug 5, 2020

    1994

    CHIRLA leads the fight against California’s Proposition 187, which denies education and other services to undocumented immigrants

  • Aug 5, 2020

    1996

    CHIRLA joins with Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) and the National Immigrant Legal Center (NILC) to found the California Immigrant Welfare Collaboration (now the California Immigrant Policy Center) to protect access to the safety net and healthcare for immigrants

  • Aug 5, 2020

    1999

    • CHIRLA helps establish the Hate Crime Victims Assistance and Advocacy Initiative, which funded community organizations’ advocacy work for victims of hate crimes
    • CHIRLA launches the WiseUp! leadership development program to empower immigrant high school youth
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2000

    • CHIRLA joined with KIWA, IDEPSCA and PWC to found the Multi-Ethnic Immigrant Worker Organizing Network (MIWON) and launched May 1st as Immigrant Worker Day March to advance legalization and worker rights.
    • Setting a nationwide legal precedent, CHIRLA defeats a 1994 Los Angeles County ordinance punishing day labor solicitation on county streets and protects the first amendment rights of day laborers making themselves available to work.
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2001

    • CHIRLA advocates for and helps win passage of California’s AB540, which allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at colleges and universities
    • U.S. Representatives Lucille Roybal Allard and Howard Berman introduce the Student Adjustment Act to confer legal status to undocumented immigrant youth and open the doors to higher education. 
    • WiseUp! members campaign to repeal the bar on higher education benefits for undocumented students that were part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA)
    • Fifteen thousand peaceful demonstrators, including CHIRLA members, march in Los Angeles on May Day, demanding immigration reform and fair labor laws
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2003

    • CHIRLA helps found the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)
    • CHIRLA launches the California DREAM network (CDN) to organize college students
    • CHIRLA wins Drivers Licenses for Immigrants and then loses the law through a rescission by Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger.
    • U.S. Sens.Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) first introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2004

    • CHIRLA plays a key role in launching the national coalition Fair Immigrant Rights Movement (FIRM)
    • CHIRLA helps create the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
    • CHIRLA helps establish the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
    • CHIRLA launches the EMPLEO outreach program to help immigrant workers collect retained back wages and protect their rights
    • CHIRLA launches is Immigrant civic engagement program to get out the Immigrant and Latino vote
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2006

    • In the largest such march in California history, CHIRLA is a leading organizer in the one million people in downtown Los Angeles to demand immigration reform and against a proposal to criminalize the act of being undocumented in the U.S.
    • CHIRLA’s Household Workers’ Committee advocates for statewide legislation to protect domestic workers
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2008

    • CHIRLA launches an immigrants’ Know Your Rights program, including a dramatic video presentation of what people should do to protect themselves during immigration raids
    • When ICE arrests 138 people working at MicroSolutions Enterprises, a printer cartridge maker, CHIRLA leads the community organizing and legal defense of the impacted workers and families.
    • CHIRLA leads the national fight of comprehensive immigration reform
    • CHIRLA helps create the Los Angeles Raids Rapid Response Network (LARRRN)
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2009

    • CHIRLA is part of the leadership of the Reform Immigration for America Campaign
    • CHIRLA creates and convenes the California Table for Immigration Reform, a coalition of community, faith, immigrant, labor, and LGBTQI groups connecting to advance immigration reform
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2010

    • CHIRLA’s call center helps 125,000 people contact their representatives to push immigration reform 
    • CHIRLA helps pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in the House of Representatives, but it dies in the Senate
    • CHIRLA’s campaign for the 2010 census reaches 100,000 households
    • Our CHIRLA.org website receives more than 6 million visits
    • CHIRLA and its partners launch the campaign for the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights 
    • CDN mobilizes 13,000 students to push for AB130 and AB131 (the California DREAM Act) which lets undocumented students apply for state-funded and private financial aid.

     

  • Aug 5, 2020

    2011

    • CHIRLA and the CA Dream Network’s campaign for education access and equity,  in partnership with California Senator Gil Cedillo, win California DREAM Act and Governor Jerry Brown signs it into law on October 8, 2011
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2012

    • CHIRLA’s years of advocacy and organizing work helps win Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to provide temporary legal status, protection from deportation and work permits for undocumented youth.
    • CHIRLA’s DREAM Center opens to help people apply for the DACA program. Over 10,000 people show up at CHIRLA’s doors on the first day of the program.
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2013

    • CHIRLA leads the passage of AB60 into law, which lets undocumented immigrants get drivers’ licenses 
    • CHIRLA hosts AB60 drivers’ license exam preparation classes
    • CHIRLA’s Covered California education campaign reaches over 300,000 individuals in an effort to ensure access to health insurance for all
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2014

    • CHIRLA leads the passage of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights 
    • CHIRLA helped found Movimiento de Immigrantes en América (MIA)
    • CHIRLA opens an office in the San Fernando Valley
    • CHIRLA hosts the National Immigrant Integration Conference in Los Angeles and over 900 people attend from all over the U.S. and world.
    • CHIRLA advances Health Care For All children
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2015

    • In expectation of help for parents of people with DACA, CHIRLA creates the DAP’Adelante mass education campaign, about the proposed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and a DACA expansion
    • CHIRLA opens office in Pacoima
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2016

    • CHIRLA’s civic engagement effort reaches a total 127,000 people to register voters, get out the vote, and build support for propositions that shored up school and health care funding, as well as reconfigured prison sentencing
    • CHIRLA opens an office in East Los Angeles
    • CHIRLA creates L.A. Action Table, a coalition of community, faith, immigrant, labor, LGBTQI, and refugee organizations working for immigrant-friendly local policies
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2017

    • CHIRLA defends DACA and fights for the DREAM Act in Washington
    • CHIRLA opens an office in Sacramento.
    • CHIRLA opens an office in South Los Angeles
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2018

    • CHIRLA opens offices in Porterville, San Bernardino, Washington D.C. and in Downtown Los Angeles
    • CHIRLA’s Immigrant Assistance line gets more than 5,000 calls per month
    • CHIRLA’s Immigrant Political Power Project reaches more than 253,000 people ahead of the November midterm elections 
    • CHIRLA TV launches on LATV Network
    • CHIRLA sends a delegation of attorneys to Mexico City to investigate conditions for people migrating in caravans from Central America.
    • CHIRLA stations an attorney in Mexico to observe migration patterns and build relations with NGOs
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2019

    • CHIRLA leads to passage in the House of Representatives of HR6 (the Dream and Promise Act), which gives people with DACA and TPS a path to citizenship 
    • CHIRLA opens an office in Orange County
    • CHIRLA again leads efforts to reach hard-to-count communities with its Contamos Contigo census campaign, reaching 2 million people and boosting response rate in low-count communities
    • CHIRLA advances California’s Golden Promise, a legislative agenda for the state that includes 13 pro-immigrant measures. Nine become law
    • CHIRLA brings 30 people with DACA to witness Supreme Court oral arguments in the case to decide the program’s fate 
    • CHIRLA’s WiseUp! organizes student walkouts on the day of the DACA Supreme Court arguments. About 1,000 young people from ten schools participated
  • Aug 5, 2020

    2020

    • CHIRLA’s get-out-the-vote campaign contacts 95,092  voters
    • CHIRLA fights to include undocumented immigrants in COVID-19 relief at the local, state and federal level
    • When Gov. Gavin Newsom designates $175 million in COVID relief aid for undocumented immigrants, CHIRLA is one of 12 organizations to administer the program
    • CHIRLA teams up with UNO Productions to present Cuídate y Cuéntate, a multi-celebrity virtual concert with headliner Lupillo Rivera, to promote census participation and COVID-19 safety measures
    • CHIRLA opens an office in Compton
    • CHIRLA launches its student legal services initiative, with offices based in 18 California college campuses