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CHIRLA is the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. Founded in 1986. CHIRLA is a California leader with national impact made of diverse immigrant families and individuals who act as agents of social change to achieve a world with freedom of mobility, full human rights, and true participatory democracy. CHIRLA’s mission is to achieve a just society fully inclusive of immigrants. CHIRLA organizes and serves individuals, institutions and coalitions to build power, transform public opinion, and change policies to achieve full human, civil and labor rights. Guided by the power, love, and vision of our community, CHIRLA embraces and drives progressive social change. CHIRLA was formed in response to the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 which made hiring undocumented workers illegal, thus creating a situation ripe for worker exploitation and abuse which have increased since that time. [1]

Gavin Newsom Recall Election

Leftist organizations joined forced to stop the recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom, scheduled to take place on September 14, 2021. An open letter dated April 29, 2021[2] to stop the recall election was initiated by Courage California "and 24 partner organizations and community leaders." Angela Chavez was listed as contact.

CHIRLA signed the letter:

Los Angeles — In response to the certification of signatures to qualify the gubernatorial recall for the 2021 ballot, Courage California and 24 partner organizations and community leaders announced their unified opposition to the recall of the governor as a right-wing attempt to roll back decades of community-driven progress.
The 25 organizations and leaders released the following joint statement:
“The recall is not about Governor Gavin Newsom — it’s an attack on our communities and what Californians have long fought for, from immigrant and refugee rights, to criminal justice reforms, to universal healthcare. Supporters of the recall and Republican leaders claim that the recall is about the Governor’s COVID-19 response, but we see through that thin veil and want to expose their anti-justice and anti-immigrant agenda that threatens to set us back 30 years. We stand together against the recall today to defend the values that the majority of Californians believe in — equity, justice, and accountability for all of us.
“We call on all Californians who share the belief that no human is illegal, every person deserves clean air and water, no one should go hungry, every worker should earn at least a living wage, and everyone should be able to access affordable and holistic healthcare to unite with us against the recall. In the face of the pandemic, we mobilized for a historic year of racial justice uprisings and voter turnout and demanded changes that were long overdue. We are seeing movement on our demands now, and we can’t afford to — not just stop — but go backward. We need to turn out to vote against the recall for ourselves, our families, and our communities.”
As trusted messengers of diverse communities and causes, this coalition provides a unified forward-looking and values-driven voice that is independent of the parties and campaigns. The coalition will continue to work against the recall, countering right-wing misinformation and turning out voters for this special election. Voter engagement and accountability are important to a healthy democracy in California, and Courage California and our 24 partners strive for a government that works for everyone.



Courage California, formerly Courage Campaign, works to unite communities organizing for progressive change, fight the forces of corruption, and hold our representatives to account in order to ensure that California’s elected officials act with courage. Our community of members envision California as a model of progressive, equitable, and truly representative democracy that sets the standard for our country.

Board of Directors

As of January 23, 2018;[3]


As of January 23, 2018;[4]












DACA help

CHIRLA helped applicants process their DACA paperwork and had a blessing of the “caps and gowns.” Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Rep. Judy Chu and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa were all scheduled to attend. August 15th 2012 :9:00 a.m. PDT at the CHIRLA office in Los Angeles, CA. Contact Jorge-Mario Cabrera.[5]

Meeting congressmembers

CHIRLA held 2 roundtables with supportive Congressional representatives and Chambers of Commerce. One was held on October 18th with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Rep. Jimmy Gomez. A second Roundtable was held between CHIRLA California Dream Network youth and Rep. Linda Sanchez at Cal State Fullerton on October 19, 2017.

September/October 2017, CHIRLA organized 3 public events and 2 business roundtables with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Rep. Nanette Barragan and Rep. Jimmy Gomez, as well as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), and the Carson Chamber of Commerce.[6]

Salas' activism

In 2010, when leaders of the immigrant rights movement met with President Barack Obama in the White House, Angelica Salas challenged the president’s claim that his administration was focusing on deporting criminals and other security threats. “No, Mr. President, that’s not what’s happening,” Salas told Obama. “You’re deporting heads of households, mothers and fathers. Young people are sitting in detention centers when they should be sitting in the best universities in the country.”

Last year, Obama agreed to suspend the deportation of, and grant work permits to, the young “dreamers” who came to the U.S. illegally as children.

Salas, the 42-year-old executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), has been a potent force in the struggle for comprehensive immigration reform. One of the national movement’s key strategists, she is a powerful speaker, a brilliant organizer and a remarkable coalition builder who works closely with unions, faith groups and students. She is no stranger to jail cells as a frequent participant in civil disobedience. She played a key role in several recent major victories in California, including bills allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, prohibiting local police from turning over undocumented immigrants to federal officials for possible deportation and giving undocumented college students access to public financial aid.

Salas views her job as “telling stories” — giving voice to the immigrants whose lives are often ignored or misreported. She sees her own story in those lives; she was smuggled into the country at age five by her 14-year-old aunt. They were caught and sent back to Mexico, but they made it across the border on a second try. The family was torn apart again when federal officials raided the sweatshop where her mother worked and deported her. They were eventually reunited in Los Angeles, where Salas grew up. She joined CHIRLA after finishing Occidental College and became director of the group in 1999.

Salas and CHIRLA have established day-laborer job centers, registered more than 75,000 new immigrant voters and led the fight for in-state tuition for undocumented students. Much of CHIRLA’s work involves what Salas calls “handing the baton” — recruiting and training the next generation of activists.[7]