Press Room

June

FIFA MUST COME OUT AND SAY IT

Use of anti-gay epithet in the soccer field is not unique to Mexico’s supporters but massive World Cup audience gives FIFA members a great chance to teach tolerance and understanding

Los Angeles, CA – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) urged the International Federation of Associations Football (FIFA) and its member associations to take advantage of the world stage at the World Cup in Brazil to actively campaign against homophobia, transphobia, and otherwise insulting and demeaning use of language and behavior that strikes at the dignity of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals.

The following are statements for Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director.

“The world is passionately watching and enjoying soccer right now presenting FIFA with a golden opportunity to score big against anti-LGBT language and behavior.  Just as FIFA has stood firm against racism, we expect an unequivocal rebuttal to any and all uses of language and behavior that demeans, insults, and pokes fun at LGBT persons by an individual or thousands all at once. 

There’s nothing culturally-acceptable about homophobia, intolerance, and discrimination in the beautiful world of soccer.  As various countries meet at the World Cup for fame, glory, and the honor of being the best sports team, we call on all players, managers, executives, and fans to dignify the sport by exercising respect, sensitivity, and humanity to everyone involved. 

To be passionate about a sport we love is understandable and encouraged.  To be a misinformed bigot while passionately rooting for our team cheapens the sport, endangers the convivial and multicultural nature of competition, and insults the human condition.”

 

 It’s Kevin McCArthy’s Time to Ride California-Style
New House Majority Leader can no longer run away from the issue most Californians care about:  immigration reform
 
Los Angeles, CA – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) called the election on Thursday of Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as the new House Majority Leader a not-to-be-missed opportunity for California and the GOP as it relates to action on immigration reform.
 
The following are statements for Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director:
 
“Mr. McCarthy is the newly-minted House Majority Leader, but above all, he’s a Californian.  As the people’s representative from the state with the largest immigrant community, Mr. McCarthy can no longer run away from acting on policies such as immigration reform that are certain to bring great benefits our state and our nation.
 
As a member of a party in urgent need of redemption in California, Mr. McCarthy must lead with the full understanding that inaction on immigration reform will further damage his own credibility and any Republican chances of winning immigrant and Latino voters in the foreseeable future.  The status quo of pushing the can down the road will only lead Mr. McCarthy and the GOP the Cantor Way in the Golden State.
 
Mr. McCarthy has been handed a golden opportunity he must not waste.  He can help rebuild the GOP brand or he can tear down the house he is now charged with re-building.”

 

Press Statement:  June 10, 2014
 
NOT ONE MORE DOLLAR TO TEAR FAMILIES APART
Schiff/Roybal-Allard Amendment would defund deportation of parents and guardians of legal permanent resident and U.S. citizen children and other minors, and those with deep community ties.
 
Los Angeles – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) expressed support Tuesday at news that California Representatives Adam Schiff and Lucille Roybal-Allard, both members of the House Appropriations Committee, plan to file an amendment this week seeking to defund the deportation of parents and guardians of US citizen and legal permanent resident children and other minors and those with deep community ties.  The amendment to the FY15 Homeland Security Bill that is due to debated in the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday would be a first step to ensure that monies given to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be spent on those who represent true public threats rather than deporting community members with roots in the community. 
 
According to a Family Unity, Family Health study, “How Family-Focused Immigration Reform Will Mean Better Health for Children and Families”: In 2012 alone, 88,517 immigrants who reported to have at least 1 U.S. citizen child were removed from the U.S.  Per a June 2013 report by Human Impact Partners: “Last year the U.S. spent more than $1.2 billion to deport parents of U.S.-citizen children.” 
 
The following are statements for Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director:
 
“Today, well over 5.5 million children in the United States have at least one undocumented parent and the stress caused by the fear of deportation, or the actual deportation, of a parent is uniformly negative to a child’s health. It is unconscionable and un-American to expose a single child, let alone millions, to this cruel and unusual anguish and Congress should play no part in funding it. 

The Schiff/Roybal-Allard amendment protects the sanctity and integrity of the family unit here in the United States by defunding the deportation of parents and legal guardians of LPR/U.S. citizen children and other minors and those with deep community ties.  Not one more American tax payer dollar should be allowed to be spent on the demise of our greatest institution, the family.
 
Entire communities are impacted by this pervasive fear especially due to the role of local police in helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) locate immigrants to deport. As rumors swirl and people disappear, stress increases and trust in law enforcement is eroded. This puts the children at even greater risk, as real crime (abusers etc.) is not reported due to the fear of deportation. 
 
The Schiff/Roybal-Allard amendment is a partial solution to a much larger problem.  Without a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system, our families will continue to suffer.  And concurrently, without a more successful implementation of the hitherto failed prosecutorial discretion directives and an overall change to the way ICE interacts with immigrant families in the United States, we will see children torn from their parents.
 
We urge support for this essential amendment, furthering our common goal of keeping families together while ensuring that ICE focuses its resources on true threats to public safety and not on the members of the community it is meant to protect and serve.”
 
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Hashtag:
 
#fight4families
The Love Affair That Wasn’t is Now Over
Damaging relationship between ICE and Sheriff hurt community most and benefited no one
 
Los Angeles – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles reacted positively to a Los Angeles Times story that described several California counties, among them Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino, as less enthusiastic about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers which had local Sheriff departments acting like immigration officers and helping in the deportation of undocumented immigrants.
 
Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive Director, had the following reaction:
 
“As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles County Sheriff finally joins others in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and elsewhere in stopping to honor ICE detainers, holding immigrants for immigration officials for up to 48 hours past their release time.  The damaging aspect of ICE/Sheriff collaboration has reportedly come to an end and we couldn’t be any more pleased. 

The significance of this decision is multifold, but it sends a strong signal to DHS that this county will no longer be bullied into doing the dirty work of cruel and unjust deportations.  Through the dragnet ICE calls the “Secure Communities” program, the Sheriff department has been guilty of separating countless families since it started implementation locally in 2009.  S-Comm, with the Sheriff’s complicity, has shown time and time again these deportations hurt mostly immigrants who are anything but a threat to the community.
 
We welcome the news because our local Sheriff should have never agreed to become a de-facto arm of ICE to begin with.  But the proof is in the pudding, as they say.  Since we know ICE has a quota to deport and detain some 400,000 immigrants a year, what will their next move be?  Will our Los Angeles Police Department follow suit?  And will our Sheriff department hold the line as it should and stand for community, safety, and protection?”
 
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May

No Time Like the Present to Stop Family Separations and Set Legacy in Motion
 
(Los Angeles)--The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a state immigrant-rights organization with national impact, expressed dismay after news that President Obama asked DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to postpone any changes to immigration practices until August.
 
The following are statements for Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director:
 
"While politics may dictate the White House to act with meekness in tackling the cruel and inhumane deportation procedures that leave thousands of immigrant families on a daily basis further ostracized and robbed of dignity, common sense and a moral urgency to do the right thing should not. Letting a wound fester is ill-advised and counterproductive and President Obama is wrong in halting a much needed review of immigration deportations many agree is fraught with injustice.

For many years now, entire communities throughout the United States have joined hands to denounce a broken, costly, and dangerously-rogue immigration system.  Since the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate last year, a diverse, powerful, and influential coalition has been working with House Republicans and Democrats to follow suit and do the right thing for millions of immigrant American families.  How much more time do leaders in Congress need to do what they know well they must do? 
 
The President has repeatedly told us he feels the pain of children, workers, and communities torn apart by unjust deportations.  The decision by the White House to halt a process which would 'humanize' a system gone awfully wrong raises more questions than it answers but it does not address our demand the community's suffering must stop.    The President must hold strong and set a different legacy in motion than that of "deporter-in-chief".  Policy-making is not easy but political games while a crisis worsens is reprehensible.
 
We will not accept further delays.  We are holding Congress and the White House to our June 28th deadline when we expect them to act in tandem to halt the suffering of millions and update our nation's immigration laws.  Nothing short of doing the right thing will suffice."
 
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April

Los Angeles, CA -- On Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Financial & Oversight Subcommitee released a startling, bipartisan report detailing how the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) had been compromised in its crucial mission of overseeing DHS' deportation machine and more. In particular, the Subcommittee found that OIG had lost its independence when investigating the misnamed "Secure Communities" (S-Comm) deportation dragnet.

The following is a statement by Joseph Villela, CHIRLA Policy Director.

"This devastating report takes us back in time to 2011/12, when CHIRLA and its allies' opposition to the fatally flawed S-Comm was beginning to bear fruit. Since 2009, when this deportation dragnet was secretly imposed on Los Angeles and then the rest of California, we began to see community members 'disappeared' after seemingly routine local police encounters while selling hot dogs or driving their children to school. By mid-2011, awareness of S-Comm's brutal impact had reach such a level that DHS was compelled to create a Task Force to suggest "reforms" to it. The Task Force came to Los Angeles and heard countless tales of families being separated indiscriminately.

At the same time, Members of Congress began to look closer at S-Comm - Representative Zoe Lofgren requested that the DHS OIG take a close look at the program and how it was forced upon unsuspecting communities across California and the country. The Senate report now reveals that, as suspected back in 2012, that the OIG's investigation was nothing but a sham, whose content and findings were dictated by then DHS Secretary (current University of California President) Janet Napolitano's lead counsel John Sandweg and Chief of Staff Noah Kroloff.

Aside from entirely discrediting the OIG report, the behavior of Secretary Napolitano's staff raises serious concerns about the Task Force as well. After several of its members resigned, the Task Force released tepid recommendations to "reform" S-Comm in ways that would have little effect on the ground, yet DHS did not even adopt these

Fast forward to today in 2014, and we see that S-Comm continues to help deport just about anyone local police hand over to ICE. In other words, as the recently surpassed grim milestone of 2 million deportations under President Obama shows, nothing has changed. While the TRUST Act here in California is helping to protect many immigrants from deportation, most of the rest of the country has no such safeguards. It's high time to stop doing the same horrible thing over and over yet expecting rosy results. This sorry trip into history and the current sordid reality can only lead to one conclusion: the Obama Administration must end S-Comm now."

February

How Many House Members Does it Take to Screw Up Immigration Reform?
Two, Say Boehner and McCarthy
 
Not so fast, say immigration reform advocates.  We are determined to win.
Blocking reform is to the detriment of GOP and Democratic leaders.
 
Los Angeles, CA – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) cautioned Democratic and GOP leaders in Congress it could be to their detriment if immigration reform legislation does not move in 2014.  Late last week, House Speaker Boehner and Majority Whip McCarthy seemed to indicate immigration reform would not move forward in 2014 in spite of recent statements to the contrary made by both.  CHIRLA, in collaboration with national, regional, and state networks fighting for immigration reform, vowed to step up the pressure on the GOP, Democratic leadership and the White House until we win dignity and respect for the 11 million undocumented workers living in the U.S.  Read statement after the break.

 
The following are statements for Angelica Salas, executive director for CHIRLA.
 
“We have had enough of Speaker Boehner and Representative McCarthy trying to flip-flop their way out of immigration reform.  And we are still waiting for Democratic leaders to raise their voice in opposition to this latest of all shameful and cowardly stalling techniques.  The House GOP’s inaction, lame excuses, and duplicity is an affront to core American values, our families, our communities, and our nation’s future. 
 
The fight for immigration reform is personal for us and we intend to step up the pressure on Democrats, Republicans, and the White House until we win dignity and respect for the 11 million undocumented workers living in the U.S. and the additional countless Americans whose lives are directly affected by this impasse. 
 
Mr. Boehner and Mr. McCarthy must find it convenient to govern and lead from closed district offices or well-guarded Washington buildings but they forget the American people issued a mandate in 2012 calling for a permanent fix to a broken, cruel, un-American immigration system.  Just like in November 2012, CHIRLA will continue to mobilize voters, citizens in key districts, and families impacted by the costly, unruly, and inhumane immigration laws, to remind House leaders why a no vote on immigration with a path to citizenship will not be tolerated.
 
As the shameful two-million deportations record comes to pass, the next few weeks will usher more than cherry blossoms to Washington, DC should Speaker Boehner, Majority Whip McCarthy, and President Obama not get their act together and stop screwing up the chances for immigration reform in 2014.”

 

 

January

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.”

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