The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) was founded in 1986 in response to the Immigration Reform and Control Act which stipulated that hiring undocumented immigrant workers was illegal. This created a situation whereby workers could be exploited and abused, and used for cheap labor.
CHIRLA’s core mission is to achieve an egalitarian society where there is freedom of movement and everyone’s human right is fully respected, inclusive of immigrants.
Although CHIRLA is a Californian-based human right group, its impact is felt on a national scale. The group is made up of immigrant families and individuals who have chosen to change an unworthy and unjust status quo.
CHIRLA is a pressure group which uses individuals, institutions, and coalition to influence public opinion and creates policies that respect human rights. Read more: Phoenix New Time
CHIRLA provides legal services to its members at an affordable cost. Through its legal department, thousands of immigrants have become citizens and have been able to reunite with their families.
Information is key to self-liberation and actualization of goals. CHIRLA’s Community Education Department is charged with the responsibility of educating immigrants of their civic and human rights, and to expose them to opportunities for achieving their goals and ambitions.
They help inform immigrants about important issues that affect their lives, such as changes in immigration laws at local, federal or state level. CHIRLA Community Education Department organizes seminars, workshops, and presentations for the achievement of its objectives.
In order to effect a systemic change CHIRLA presses for immigration policies adjustment at Federal, state and local level that protect immigrants civic and basic human rights. At the federal level, aside from pushing for immigration reforms, CHIRLA works on other issues as detention and due process, aimed at challenging legislation that works against immigrants.
At the state level, CHIRLA focuses on immigrant access issues and workers’ right. While at the local level, the focus is on local enforcement issues.
Aside from local enforcement, CHIRLA aims to formulate policies and regulation that are centered to preserving immigrant’s right, helping them to access available services while enlightening them on how to fully function in their environment. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427427/Jim_Larkin and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/jim-larkin/
CHIRLA aims at organizing communities so as to use the power of their collective voices towards the actualization of its objectives.
Just like many other human right groups, CHIRLA’s source of funding comes majorly from donations from individuals, corporate bodies, special funds, and organizations. One notable fund that is dedicated to protecting migrants’ right is the Frontera fund created by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin; co-founders of Village Voice Media and Phoenix New Times. The duo had donated the money paid to them after they won their case against the Maricopa County.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin had been arrested on the on the 18th of October, 2007 and were whisked away from their homes in the middle of the night by County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They had sued the county and won in the United States Court of Appeal. They were awarded a $3.75 million settlement.
The Frontera fund will assist groups that fight for the right of immigrants and also freedom of speech.