Press Room

May

Angelica Salas has been part of CHIRLA's family for more than 16 years.  

 

Before CHIRLA, Angelica was already a survivor and a fighter for immigrant rights.  

 

An immigrant and a thankful daughter, Angelica is part of the American Dream.  Her moving story is well told in this video special by Univision.

 

Video courtesy of KMEX-TV 34 Univision Los Angeles

On Wednesday, CHIRLA hosted members of the press to hear the stories of two moms who are about to be deported.  Both women have US-born children and both do not have a criminal background.  One of the moms, Carmen, must leave by June 17 and the other mom, Maria, must take care of a wheelchair-bound young man who suffers from daily seizures.  More Photos inside.

 

Press Advisory:  May 7, 2012

Saying Goodbye on Mother’s Day

ICE deportation quotas keep tearing families apart in spite of humane options available, especially when US-born children or sick loved ones are involved and community ties are strong.

Two women plead ICE to help them stay with their US-born children this Mother’s Day.  They represent no threat to society and they are hard-working members of the community

Los Angeles – Thousands upon thousands of US-born citizens will spend this Mother’s Day facing an uncertain future and a broken family.  According to a March Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report, 46,486 parents of US-born citizens were deported from the United States during the first half of 2011.  In contrast, the New York Times reports that in the decade between 1998 and 2007, nearly 100,000 such parents were deported.  An estimated 4 million US-born children have a least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant. 

In a 2006 report to Congress ICE clarified that “our priority mission — and our greatest challenge — is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States” adding that “the mission of ICE is to protect America and uphold public safety by targeting the people, money and materials that support terrorist and criminal activities.”  In August of 2011, ICE Director John Morton and the White House announced deportation prioritization guidelines (Prosecutorial Discretion or PD) to apply when ICE rules on a case.  Thus far, ICE has complied miserably with the guidelines and out of a possible 53,000 reviews being conducted in Los Angeles alone, fewer than 220 people have received PD. 

This week, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) convened a meeting of the Family Unity Advisory Group in Chicago which parallels efforts across the nation.  In Los Angeles, the Family Unity Commission has been looking into specific deportation cases, meritorious of PD, but denied by ICE based on inconsistent, often erratic rationale.

WHAT:             Two women threatened with immediate deportation introduce us to their children, US-born citizens, one of whom is in a wheelchair suffering epilepsy.   One woman has already bought her plane tickets.  The other woman must wear an ankle bracelet while she awaits her final order of deportation within 10 days.  ICE has refused both of their requests for clemency.

WHEN:            Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 10:00 a.m.

WHERE:          CHIRLA, 2533 West Third St., Ste. 101, Los Angeles, CA 90057, parking in rear.

WHO:              Two women who are facing immediate deportation and their US-born children, immigration attorney Jessica Dominguez, and CHIRLA representatives.

WHY:               ICE has been charged by the White House to apply Prosecutorial Discretion (PD) on deportation cases it deems “low priority”.  On Mother’s Day, two families plead to stay together and ask ICE to stop the tearing apart of a loving family.

UPDATE:  Late on Wednesday, ICE informed media outlets that one of the moms, Maria, could remain in the country.  As to Carmen, ICE remains convinced they are acting according to the law and will see to it that she leaves the US by June 1.

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April

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 27, 2012                

The “Secure Communities” Emperor Has No Clothes
Announced changes to flawed deportation program insufficient and deceptive
 
Los Angeles - The same week as the nation’s highest court hears oral arguments on the legality of SB1070, and three weeks after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a timid review of the program, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced minor modifications to the deeply flawed “Secure Communities” program (S-Comm). A DHS-sponsored Taskforce on Secure Communities released a stinging report of the program in November 2011.  The modifications, which come after two years of mounting opposition to S-Comm from state and local officials, congressional representatives, advocates, and faith groups, were quickly denounced by advocates as inadequate to address the program’s failings.  The following is a statement of Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.
 

“ICE’s response to the strong and mounting criticism of its star deportation program, S-Comm, offers more of the same rhetoric that only ICE can accept as truth.  On the ground, S-Comm has proven to be a seriously flawed dragnet that promotes racial profiling in line with the “attrition through enforcement” philosophy of the masterminds behind Arizona’s SB1070 and its copycat bills.

Far from targeting the “worst of the worst”, S-Comm catches anyone who happens to fit into ICE’s amorphously defined ‘priorities’.  Deplorably, it is local and state police departments that have been relegated to the unenviable role of faux immigrant wardens undermining the trust of the community, a key element to fight crime, protect victims and witnesses, and protect the community’s overall safety. 

The timid modifications in this report do absolutely nothing to change the nature of the beast.  In fact, several of the responses to the recommendations are either old news or so vague as to have any real significant impact.  Even though DHS and ICE appear to concede that racial profiling concerns exist, the report resists the modest suggestions made by the Task Force to monitor these concerns by states or by setting up a panel in a selected jurisdiction, e.g. Maricopa County.

In spite of claims to transparency, prioritization, and cooperation, this ICE report underscores that although the Emperor has been informed it has no clothes, obstinately refuses to wear any.”

 

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WHAT:           Press Conference to denounce dismal record of PD approvals by ICE, in large regional districts such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.  The Commission will also introduce tools crucial to a successful PD application.

WHEN:           Monday, April 23, 2012, 10:30 a.m.

WHERE:         Unity Park, 1659 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA (between Union Pl., and Union St. on Beverly Blvd., west of Downtown LA)  Parking on side streets.

WHO:             Members of the L.A. Family Unity Commission:  Office of Representative Judy Chu, Office of Representative Xavier Becerra, Office of Representative Karen Bass, Office of Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, Office of Representative Grace Napolitano, Office of Representative Janice Hahn, Office of Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa, Office of L.A. City Councilmember Eric Garcetti, Judge Bruce Einhorn (Ret.), Connie Rice, Director of The Advancement Project, Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, Angelica Salas, Executive Director of CHIRLA, Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of CLUE LA, Center for Community Change, NILC, ACLU-Southern California, AILA, and Law Offices of Meredith Brown, Alan Diamante, Jessica Dominguez, and Victor Nieblas,.  Community members impacted by the lack of a consistent process on prosecutorial discretion will be present.

 

For Immediate Release:April 6, 2002

Immigration Reports Bask in Wishful Thinking
Immigration dragnet reports by DHS Inspector General mask a monster’s malice
 

Los Angeles – On Friday the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released two reports addressing how the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) communicated the intent and requirements for participation in the wrongly-named “Secure Communities” (S-Comm) program to states and local jurisdictions and how the program is meeting its priorities. The OIG is tasked with periodic audits, inspection, and special reports prepared as part of the oversight responsibilities within DHS.   The following is a statement from Angelica Salas, executive director for CHIRLA, a regional human and immigrant rights organization based in Los Angeles.

"The reports do not even begin to address the myriad, factual and legitimate concerns that communities across the country have long had about DHS-ICE's metastasized deportation dragnet, "S-Comm".

The program is turning local police departments into de facto immigration agents, often against their will as we have just seen in the case of Oscar Carrillo in Pasadena, CA.

While the OIG reviews the history of S-Comm, the current program represents a time bomb for the community: public trust in law enforcement continues to be undermined. While it may be acceptable collateral damage in the eyes of certain politicians in Arizona, Alabama and Kansas who have no qualms about relying on racial profiling, in California it is intolerable.

In Los Angeles, the concerns over S-Comm reached a very public condemnation at the August 2011 public hearing of DHS' own Task Force on S-Comm. The Task Force later issued a scathing report, vindicating many of the concerns that had been hitherto ignored by ICE. To date, DHS and the Administration have not responded publicly to the Task Force's recommendations.

We find it hard to understand the report’s conclusion that ICE did not intentionally mislead California state and local officials about whether participation in S-Comm was voluntary and whom this program was meant to target.

California was the first state in the country to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with ICE to be part of a program meant to target "threats to public safety" and the "worst of the worst". This contract contained a termination clause, which led California to believe it could work to modify S-Comm or end its participation.

In an Orwellian twist, ICE shredded the contract when challenged and carried on as before. Moreover, far from netting only serious criminals, ICE was content to ensnare street vendors, immigrant workers and even victims of domestic violence.

It is most alarming that the very real and serious problem of racial profiling gets such short shrift in these reports. Just this week, Senator Durbin announced the first Congressional hearing on racial profiling in over a decade. 

The fact that S-Comm exploits the racial profiling by local police in order for ICE to reach its deportation goal of 400,000 is swept under the rug by the OIG.  Anti-immigrant bills like Arizona SB1070 encourage racial profiling, while S-Comm relies and even incentivizes it. 

Without a doubt, the experience on the ground cannot mask the truth: the bright line between ICE and local police needs to be restored, and this means ending, not mending S-Comm."

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CHIRLA held the 26th Annual Spring Gala on April 5, 2012.  Hundreds joined Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, community pillar Stewart Kwoh, the immigration attorney members of the Raids Rapid Response Network, and carwasheros union members.  Pictures, below.

 

CHIRLA Staff, Board Members, and volunteers.

Evening's host Ana Patricia Candiani and immigration attorney Jessica Dominguez.

 

Students flank state Assemblyman Gil Cedillo recognizing his fight for educational opportunities for immigrants.

 

 

For Immediate Release:  April 5, 2012

U.S. on Track with Family Alienation Program

Report to Congress highlights fast and furious deportation of immigrant parents of US-born citizens

Los Angeles – In a seven-page report to Congress this week, the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acknowledged it has deported nearly 47,000 parents of US-born citizens the first half of 2011 alone.  The report describes an additional 40,000 parents of at least one US-born child that ICE sought to place in deportation, exclusion, or removal proceedings – only half of these were ultimately ordered deported. It is unclear how many of these immigrants were deported during the same record period, their cases are likely still pending. The report entitled “Deportation of Parents of U.S.-Born Citizens Fiscal Year 2011” was requested by Representatives Price (GA) and Roybal-Allard (CA) and members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.

The following is a statement from Angelica Salas, Executive Director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a regional human and immigrant rights organization.

“The ICE report on deporting parents of U.S.-born citizens underscores what is morally wrong with our immigration system.  Through a blind, careless, and erratic approach to immigration law enforcement, the U.S. is actively alienating families and leaving tens of thousands of U.S.-born children to fend for themselves. 

Massive deportation of parents of American-born citizens is a cruel, irrational, and un-American approach to patching antiquated immigration laws that require urgent updates."

"The Obama Administration has consistently expressed concern for immigrant families living and contributing in the U.S.  This is becoming increasingly more difficult to believe considering the latest affront to family unity.  How many more human rights abuse reports must be issued before our nation’s leaders heed the call to reach a bipartisan solution to the immigration crisis?

Under Secretary Napolitano’s helm, state-sponsored erosion of the immigrant family is swelling.  Based on this week’s report to Congress, nearly one quarter of the total number of deportations a year – 450,000 – seems to be parents of American citizens.  We must wonder how many of the parents of U.S.-born citizens were such a danger to society that necessitated their deportation in spite of the high financial and moral toll to generations to come.”

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March

The LAPD has taken the right step to highlight alledged racial profiling against Latinos by one of its own.  The immigrant community in Los Angeles has known all along that racial profiling is a common practice amongst corrupt police officers.  We look forward to working alongside the LAPD to further identify and eliminate racial profiling from its force.

Video courtesy of  KMEX-34 Los Angeles Univision.  Video after the break.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  March 27, 2012 

ANTI-IMMIGRANT HEARING CUNNING AND DECEITFUL
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) holds anti-immigrant hearing titled “Holiday on ICE”
 
Los Angeles. – While nearly 400,000 immigrants are incarcerated each year in an expanding archipelago of punitive and life-threatening detention centers, the U.S. Congress continues to deny the moral and human rights crisis caused by mass detention.  On Wednesday Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) will convene a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement facetiously titled “Holiday on ICE: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's New Immigration Detention Standards”.
 
The pretext for the hearing is the recent announcement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that it will implement a revised version of its internal guidelines on the treatment of immigrants detained in ICE facilities.
 
“Wednesday’s Congressional hearing is not really about the conditions of immigration detention, but about giving Mr. Smith and other anti-immigrant hardliners another chance to engage in vitriolic and xenophobic rhetoric,” stated Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive Director. 

“In California, alongside older facilities badly in need of reform, we are also seeing the construction of new, isolated detention centers like Adelanto in the Inland Empire. Aided by its misnamed “Secure Communities” (S-Comm) and other deportation programs, ICE is busy filling these with immigrants. This untenable situation, and the deportation pipeline that feeds it, is what truly merits attention,” said Ms. Salas.

Far from being “hospitality guidelines,” as Rep. Smith has called them, the 2011 Performance Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) fall short of providing the necessary protection for immigrants held by ICE  because it continues to rely on penal standards rather than re-envision a truly civil system. As a result, immigrants will continue to be held behind bars, often hundreds of miles from their families, with minimal if any access to legal services, vulnerable to the same substandard medical care and abuses that have prevailed in detention to date. Most important, the PBNDS are not enforceable or even legally binding, and there is no independent oversight of facilities to ensure compliance

In 2009, after a scathing government report outlined the inhumane conditions and rampant fiscal waste in detention, the Obama Administration promised to address these problems in the only way possible: by moving away from locking up immigrants and towards new models of custody and supervision that reflect the “civil” nature of immigration proceedings.   So far that has not happened

“Instead of offering constructive feedback on the proposed guidelines, Congressman Smith and other extremists have chosen to grandstand and lambast the new guidelines as coddling immigrants and increasing detention costs.  It appears that for Mr. Smith, it is far easier to attack immigrants than tackle an American problem with sensible solutions,” added Ms. Salas.

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Activistas respaldan investigación del LAPD sobre perfil racial
Los Ángeles, 27 mar (EFE).-

Organizaciones defensoras de los inmigrantes respaldaron hoy los resultados de una investigación interna del Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles (LAPD) que encontró que uno de sus agentes se guiaba del perfil racial para imponer multas de tránsito a hispanos. 

“Aparentemente es tanta la violación y es tan obvio su interés de perfilar racialmente a la comunidad que ha sido necesario detener a esta persona y acusarla”, señaló a Efe Jorge-Mario Cabrera, Gerente de Comunicaciones de la Coalición pro Derechos Humanos del Inmigrante en Los Ángeles (CHIRLA, en inglés).

Una investigación interna del LAPD concluyó que el oficial de tránsito Patrick Smith, con 15 años de servicio, detenía principalmente a conductores latinos, identificándolos por su apariencia, para imponerles multas de tránsito.

Smith, que trabajaba solo en su motocicleta en la División de Tráfico del Oeste, también alteraba los reportes registrando como “blancos” algunos de los hispanos, presumiblemente para no llamar la atención sobre la cantidad de multas aplicadas a esta comunidad, según informaron miembros no identificados del LAPD al diario LA Times.

No obstante, según el activista este caso no es el primero ni el único. “Hay muchos más policías que están cometiendo violaciones y no son detenidos y no son investigados”, denunció Cabrera.

El caso es el primero en el que la Comisión de la Policía de Los Ángeles -una organización civil de cinco miembros que supervisa las actuaciones del LAPD- encuentra a uno de sus oficiales culpable de discriminación en su conducta.

“CHIRLA continuará trabajando con el Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles para asegurarnos que cuando ocurra una violación ellos lo sepan”, agregó Cabrera. “Contamos con que el jefe la policía (Charlie) Beck va a hacer lo necesario para asegurarse de que esas manzanas podridas sean extirpadas del departamento”, concluyó Cabrera.

Read more:  El Diario de Hoy

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