Tag Archives: CHIRLA

FIRM Spotlight: FIRM Leaders win awards!


Angelicas Salas, executive director of FIRM member-group the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, and Artemio Arreola, state director for the Reform Immigration for America campaign in Illinois and Political Director for FIRM member, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, are both being honored for their outstanding work. The Tides Foundation has awarded them both with the Jane Bagley Lehnman Award for Excellence In Public Advocacy.  The recognition goes to activists dedicated to advancing immigration reform.

Says Marissa Graciosa, director of FIRM, of Salas:

There is no truer voice for our communities than Angelica Salas. She has worked tirelessly represent each and everyone of us that are affected by this issue. Her dedication shows in her involvement in everything from advanced legislative strategy to her ability to listen to community members meeting in a local church basement. Angelica is truly a hero of our movement.

Graciosa continues,

And, Artemio Arreola, what can I say? The million person march in Chicago in 2006 would not have happened without him. He represents the best of what it means to be a leader in your community.

FIRM could not be prouder of these two deserving and dedicated activists who will continue to work until we pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Congratulations Angelica and Artemio!

FIRM Spotlight: CHIRLA is California Dreamin’

DREAM Students hit the streets FOR immigration reform. DREAM Students hit the streets FOR immigration reform.

This past weekend, DREAM students in California hit the streets, and the beach, to help spread the word about the urgent need for immigration reform.


Working with FIRM partner, CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, more than 50 students successfully engaged new audiences and fended off nasty remarks from detractors.


The power of the student movement is often not noticed amidst the push for bigger national campaigns. The youth are in the thick of the fight and are one of the biggest untapped resources in the campaign for immigration reform.

MAY DAY: Giant Postcard to the President


Sorry for my brief absence folks! I’ve been so wrapped up in preparing for May 1st that I’ve had little time to think about much else. Friday is sure to be an amazing day and yours truly will be right here live-blogging events from across the country. Straight from the streets to your computer screen!

I wanted to highlight a really cool event that will be happening that day. In addition to their march through the streets of Los Angeles, MIWON and CHIRLA are planning to unveil a “giant postcard” to President Obama. Here’s the scoop:

More than 2,000 workers will coordinate a giant billboard that will reveal a message to President Obama about two important themes to workers in the United States:  improving the economy and fixing our broken immigration system.

The oversized “Postcard to the President” will be unveiled at approximately 4:30 p.m. (PST) in front of Our Lady Queen of Angeles Church, located directly across from historical Olvera Street just north of downtown Los Angeles.  As marchers arrive from Echo Park Lake, more than 2,000 workers will be handed a section of the giant postcard and will be positioned to reveal the secret message.  Aerial shots of the postcard will be sent to the President and video of the activity will be made available to the public via YouTube  and other digital outlets.

Pretty cool idea, huh? I wonder what the billboard will say. I’ll be sure to post the video and pictures of the event as they roll in this weekend.

Also, check out the great poster created for the May 1st event here in Washington, DC. Anyone who is in the area should come out to Malcom X Park at 3pm on Friday to join in the march!

In the mean time, keep checking www.anewdayforimmigration.org for the most up-to-date list of events across the country. Find one in your neighborhood and join the thousands of others marching this Friday! Three days till May 1st!

FIRM Spotlight: CHIRLA’s Angelica Salas Named to Advisory Council


We are excited to announce that Angelica Salas, Executive Director of our partners at CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles) has been selected as a member of the prestigious International Advisory Council (IAC). The Board will serve for the Third Annual Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) conference to be held in Athens, Greece in November 2009.

“I am honored to be asked to serve alongside a group of talented individuals who are deeply committed and passionate about the well being of immigrants around the world. I am thankful for the opportunity to share what we are doing in Los Angeles and I look forward to learning from others,” stated Ms. Salas.

Angelica  will be attending the first IAC meeting from April 23 thru April 26 in Athens, Greece. The 2009 GFMD will be hosted in Athens by the Greek Ministry of Interior on the 4th and 5th of November.

Congratuations, Angelica!

FIRM Spotlight: CHIRLA – Students Call for Immigration Reform

Last Tuesday youth members of Statewide Just and Humane Immigration Reform (SJHIR) – a project of  our partners the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)called on Congress to enact Just and Humane Immigration Reform.

sjhirAs more than 100 students, parents, clergy, and immigrant rights organizations looked on, a dozen members of SJHIR staged an ICE raid in front of the downtown Los Angeles ICE holding facility and shed their professional outfits for orange prison jumpsuits representing the backwardness of enforcement-only measures in the United States.  With a rally, a press conference, and a call for action, SJHIR kicked off a state-wide campaign calling for an immediate stop to the ICE raids and movement forward of a just and humane immigration reform bill in 2009.

The event included moving testimonies from students whose lives have been directly affected by our currently broken immigration system. Especially powerful was the speech given by Kevin, a 12-year old Peruvian boy who is a U.S. citizen but whose father was recently deported during an early-morning ICE raid. He read excerpts of a letter he wrote to then President-Elect Barack Obama.

“I have lived a simple life, the life of a boy with big dreams.  Then my father was taken away and all my childhood dreams came crashing down.  Please help my father who has lived in the U.S. for 17 years come back to us.”

FIRM supports CHIRLA’s call for just and humane immigration reform now. We cannot wait to help these students, their families and their communities. Call Congress at 1-888-828-0498 and let them know you want just and humane immigration reform, not raids, NOW.

Working Hands do not Deserve Handcuffs: CHIRLA Denounces ICE Raids

Yesterday, Angelica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA, spoke at the National Commission on ICE misconduct and violations of 4th amendment rights hearing, which took place at the Cathedral Plaza Conference Center, in Los Angeles, CA.

Salas denounced the numerous ICE raids in California and across the nation. She spoke of the fear ICE created for Los Angeles families and told stories of immigrants unfairly affected by ICE’s unchecked need for more deportations and more detention.




Good morning my name is Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).  CHIRLA’s mission is to advance the human and civil rights of immigrants and refugees, promote harmonious human relations and empower immigrants and their allies to build a more just society.  CHIRLA is also part of the Los Angeles Raids Rapid Response Network made up of legal, community and labor organizations that work together to ensure that immigrants detained during raids have access to counsel and that their human and constitutional rights are protected.  Our organization also works to organize workers impacted by raids so that they become actively engaged in the struggle for just and humane immigration reform and that they engage with other workers to inform them of their rights during these raids.


Los Angeles has seen the largest number of immigrants impacted by home and worksite raids.  In October 3, 2007, a two week raid detained over 1,300 people.  In February 7, 2008, close to 150 people were detained at Micro Solutions Enterprises. In second week of April 2008, we had a call everyday on our hotline letting us know that individuals were being detained at inbound warehouses in the Los Angeles South Bay. A total of 66 workers were detained by ICE authorities in this particular raid.  Just two weeks ago, ICE informed the public that over 700 immigrants had been detained and deported in another one of its immigration enforcement operations.  In Los Angeles everyday there are immigration enforcement operations.  Everyday there are ICE agents going to people’s homes, worksites and communities.  Every night in Los Angeles there are over 1,400 people detained in immigration jail.  As Executive Director of CHIRLA and as a community member I have clearly seen immense human suffering and witnessed violations of human and constitutional rights as a result of ICE’s increased immigration enforcement.




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A Closer Look: Portraits of Immigrants in Los Angeles County

CHIRLA releases

“A Closer Look”

Demographic Profile Listing Facts and Statistics That Refute Stereotypes.

Los Angeles – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) has released ‘A Closer Look: Portraits of Immigrants in Los Angeles County,” examining the cultural make-up of Los Angeles’ immigrant communities, their economic and social contributions to the county, and the influence such communities have had on the political process.

“We hope that this report counters the negative stereotyping prevalent in today’s immigration discourse.    And we hope that these facts will help to enlighten the debate by serving as a reference point in the future.”  Commented CHIRLA Executive Director Angelica Salas. 

Among other important facts, the report cites that 63% of Los Angeles children belong to immigrant families (while 87% of them are U.S. citizens), that immigrants (including undocumented immigrants) make up over half of the Los Angeles service sector and make up 90% of the county’s’ production or manufacturing workers, and that first-generation immigrants have started at least 22 of Los Angeles’ 100 fastest growing companies. 

Click here and download the attachment to read the full report as a PDF file.