CHIRLA was founded in 1986 to advance the human and civil rights of immigrants and refugees. CHIRLA was envisioned as a place for organizations and individuals concerned with human rights to work together on policies to advance justice and full inclusion for all immigrants.
CHIRLA’s first director was Father Luis Olivares, the pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church. As a leading voice of the Sanctuary movement, Olivares used his church to protect refugees fleeing human rights abuses in Central America in the 1980s.
CHIRLA has since become one of the largest and most effective advocates for immigrant rights, organizing, educating and defending immigrants and refugees in the streets, in the courts, and in the halls of power.
At CHIRLA, civically engaged immigrants and their families working for a world where they are free to move, participate in democracy, and enjoy human rights. CHIRLA takes its cue from the power, love, and vision of our community to organize and build power among people, institutions, and coalitions to change public opinion and craft progressive policies for full human, civil and labor rights for everyone.