Our constituency are the varied people in our communities who help CHIRLA achieve its mission, beginning with immigrants.
In 2017, the United States had 44.4 million immigrants, about 13.6 percent of the population. A bit less than half, 19.8 million, were naturalized citizens, and another 11.9 million are legal residents. About 2.1 million have temporary legal status and 11 million lack legal status altogether. We also work with refugees who come to the U.S. fleeing persecution in their countries.
In California, immigrants are about 27 percent of the population, about 10.6 million people. They paid almost $39 billion in state and local taxes in 2018, and they contribute more than a third of the state’s GDP, about $715 billion annually. Undocumented immigrants by themselves paid $7 billion in total taxes in 2018, of which $2.5 billion was state and local taxes.
We know that immigrant families often have mixed legal status, are multigenerational and multi-racial. Nearly half of California children have at least one immigrant parent. And we know that the undocumented immigrants we serve do the hardest jobs often for uncertain wages.
CHIRLA’s members come primarily from the immigrant community. We focus on them and put them at the center of our organizing efforts, because no one knows more about the problems immigrants face than they do. Their voice shapes our organizing and advocacy, and we ensure they reach leadership positions so they can speak their own truth to power during member vistis to elected officials.
CHIRLA does not do its work alone. Part of our model is to work in local, state and national coalitions to multiply the power of our advocacy and truly get the ear of elected officials. Our coalition work ranges from single-issue initiatives to pass specific legislation to broader groups working for long-term programmatic goals, like ending privatized detention of immigrants. We also benefit from strong, often long-term partnerships with big and small funders who believe in our work, audit our methods and certify our results with their continued support. To learn more about our coalition work, click here. To learn more about our funders, click here.
Our community is predominantly made out of immigrants who have mixed-status families. Immigrants come from all over the world and our organization provides a welcoming door to the New American community. Here at CHIRLA we try our best to advocate for everyone in order to achieve a just society fully inclusive of immigrants. We partner up with sister organizations to insure that no one is left out of the conversation. CHIRLA makes sure that our community gets involved at the Federal, State and local governments to help influence policies and laws.