The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) has been working tirelessly with multiple community partners to prepare Californians for DAPA. CHIRLA has an extensive community outreach network, public education department, and training programs for volunteers. CHIRLA’s work in community outreach and public education has reached thousands of Californians through diverse partnerships with nonprofits, faith groups, and consulates.
For example, CHIRLA has partnered with Green Dot Public Schools, a nonprofit in Los Angeles that operates public schools in the area. In its partnership with Green Dot Public Schools, CHIRLA attends parents meetings at local schools to keep parents, many of whom may be DAPA eligible, up-to-date with information on DAPA. CHIRLA also works with faith groups to visit local churches and bring accurate information on DAPA to these churches’ congregations.
CHIRLA has also established relationships with many consulates in Los Angeles, such as the Honduran and Guatemalan consulates. As part of their community outreach efforts, CHIRLA has staff members go to these consulates to give presentations on DAPA, advising the consulates on what documents to gather that their DAPA eligible nationals will need for the program.
In the last four months, CHIRLA has reached out to 10,000 people through presentations at consulates, health fairs, community fairs, parents meetings, church visits, etc. The goal of CHIRLA’s community education programs is to bring people information on DAPA’s requirements and instruct them on how to be prepared for implementation. At roughly three community education events a week spanning Los Angeles County, the Fresno area, Porterville, and Orange County, CHIRLA’s work is both persistent, and far-reaching.
Complimenting its work in community education, CHIRLA has also been training people to become effective volunteers who will help DAPA eligible community members navigate the application process. Since the Obama administration announced DAPA in November of 2014, CHIRLA has trained about 350-400 volunteers, members, and community leaders in both California, and across the country, to become DAPA navigators. The 350-400 people trained by CHIRLA will be able to aid others with the application process and provide them with accurate information on the program.
This effort has been to prepare for the implementation of DAPA and DACA+ and to ensure the current version of DACA is being effectively implemented. California is home to the nation’s largest population of undocumented immigrants, with over three million undocumented immigrants calling the state home.
In the future, CHIRLA plans to expand its network of trained DAPA navigators so it can respond to the demand of the DAPA eligible community. The organization also plans to expand its consultation program to provide inexpensive help to those who are DAPA eligible through document screenings and one-on-one consultations. While its public education program has already reached thousands of community members, CHIRLA also plans to expand this effort as people seek a trustworthy source of help and information after implementation.
Kathy Khommarath, from CHIRLA’s Legal Services Department, advises other local groups to work to “combat misinformation and notario fraud.” This battle against misinformation is already well underway in California thanks to CHIRLA’s extensive public education and volunteer training efforts.