Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) is an American political advocacy organization.



Following the passage of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, representatives from Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, and Dolores Mission formed a steering committee to coordinate the efforts of charities, legal service organizations, and advocacy organizations.

With the sponsorship of United Way, CHIRLA was formed. In 1989, CHIRLA established the first day labor center in the United States.[citation needed] In 1993, it was granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status. In the same year, faced with major changes to laws pertaining to unauthorized immigrants from California Proposition 187, CHIRLA spearheaded public awareness campaigns to dispel myths and inform the immigrant community. 287(g) Enforcement Applies to All Crimes: Officials working under 287(g) programs are allowed to refer people to ICE for any violation of the law. The 287(g) program makes no distinction between people who have committed serious felonies and people who have committed non-violent low level misdemeanor crimes. In San Bernardino County, officers have begun to report people who were trying to serve their community service time for misdemeanor crimes to ICE. This means that they are effectively punishing people for trying to rectify the minor crimes they may have committed, and who are cooperating with the system other than trespass and ID theft. Because an undocumented individual might be deported for any small or petty crime, there is increased fear of law enforcement and a disincentive for immigrants to collaborate with or contact local law enforcement to report crimes. Problems Guaranteeing Rights under 287(g) Agreements: Because immigration detainees are guaranteed state-provided legal representation, the vast majority of detainees have some means by which to effectively defend themselves. Immigration detainees have fewer rights than prisoners in the criminal justice system because immigration is considered a civil offense, as it should be. Many detainees effectively relinquish their rights by signing voluntary deportation orders, the implications of which many do not fully understand. In addition, local law enforcement officers and prison officials are trained in the complexities of immigration law. Officers that are cross-deputized under the 287(g) program only have to undergo four weeks of training which is adequate. Edited by: Cynthia Buiza, CHIRLA Director of Policy and Advocacy Prepared by: Elizabeth Venable, CHIRLA Policy Assistant Published: November 2008 Coalition for

Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA), effective September 30, 1996, added Section 287(g), performance of immigration officer functions by state officers and employees, to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This authorizes the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions, pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), provided that the local law enforcement officers receive appropriate training and function under the supervision of sworn U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.

The cross-designation between ICE and state and local patrol officers, detectives, investigators and correctional officers working in conjunction with ICE allows these local and state officers: necessary resources and latitude to pursue investigations relating to violent crimes, human smuggling, gang/organized crime activity, sexual-related offenses, narcotics smuggling and money laundering; and increased resources and support in more remote geographical locations.


CHIRLA is led by a seven-person board.[1]


CHIRLA's activities focus on three major areas: education, political advocacy, and community organization.

Education is carried out through seminars, office visits, telephone calls, trainings, information fairs, townhall meetings, and media outreach. CHIRLA, along with the production company Cinético Productions, produced the informational DVD Know Your Rights![2]

Political advocacy centers around pressuring lawmakers to pass laws "that promote and protect the human and civil rights of immigrants."[3]

Community organizational campaigns include efforts to organize domestic workers, day laborers, and undocumented students.


  1. ^ "Our Board" (HTML). CHIRLA website. CHIRLA. 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  2. ^ "CHIRLA's Know Your Rights DVD" (HTML). CHIRLA website. CHIRLA. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  3. ^ "Advocacy and Policy" (HTML). CHIRLA website. CHIRLA. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 

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