In 2008, Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego convened Immigrant leaders in the Inland Empire Region. His call was to unify leaders in the region to begin organizing collectively with a unified message of justice for immigrants. These meetings lead to the creation of the Justice for Immigrants Coalition of Inland Southern California (JFIC). Near the end of 2015 we began a process to assess our progress, identify key opportunities and threats and to identify our capacity needs through a process of strategic planning. We also adopted a new name -- Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice to better reflect our regional and unique identify.
Over the years we have been influential in advocating for the rights of all immigrants. Major victories include advocating for the passage of the California Trust Act (AB 4), which limits cooperation between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement. Supporting immigrant youth in their fight for DACA, an executive action that protects immigrant youth from deportation. We supported the statewide push for Driver Licenses for All (AB 60), which has provided over 1 million drivers licenses to undocumented Californians. More recently, we successfully advocated for the passage of a series of laws that would protect immigrants under the new federal administration, including the California Values Act (Sb 54).
We have continued to grow in strength and depth. We have evolved into a dynamic, diverse, and prominent coalition--engine for justice and change in the Inland Region and California. Currently, over 40 grassroots, community, faith-based, legal service, and workers rights organizations are part of the Coalition.
Javier Hernandez, Director
Javier Hernandez is an immigrant and queer leader fighting for immigrant rights in the Inland Empire (IE). Javier believes that justice for immigrant communities includes addressing all the intersections that are crucial to the undocumented identity such as health, poverty, criminalization, and other disparities that keep the undocumented marginalized. He has advocated and taken direct action against anti-immigrant policies and deportations throughout the country and has co-founded several grassroots groups. Since 2015, Javier has been the Director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ), a coalition of over 40 organizations, unions, legal service providers, congregations, etc. that convene to collectively advocate for immigrant justice in the Inland Empire. Through his leadership the ICIJ has broadened its reach in the Inland Empire, by diversifying its coalition membership and increasing participation in hard to reach areas of the region. Javier believes that through collective organizing and community power, the IE will be a region where justice abounds and the contributions of immigrants are acknowledged and respected.
Lyzzeth Mendoza, Community Engagement and Policy Associate
Lyzzeth Mendoza was born and raised in the Inland Empire, acquired a Bachelor's degree in American Studies and Public Relations from California State University of Fullerton. As a person of faith with a strong desire for social justice, Lyzzeth has been active in immigrant rights, public policy, and advocacy for over eight years. Lyzzeth has gathered community organizing and community engagement experience with Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC), Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective (IE-IYC), Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), and more recently Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
Lyzzeth believes that community engagement and policy advocacy are essential part of our civic duty to help create a world where we are not merely surviving, but instead living. She has worked to nurture relationships with multiracial and multi faith communities to form leaders for positive social change. On her free time, Lyzzeth enjoys to spend time with her friends and family, take road trips, and explore nature.
Aidé Arana, Capacity Building Coordinator
Aidé Arana was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco. She has lived in the City of Corona for 19 years. She attended Norco Community College where she was able to obtain three Associate Degrees. She then transferred to the University of California Riverside where she obtained a B.A. in Sociology Law and Society. She served as Outreach Coordinator at Providing Opportunities Dreams and Education in Riverside at UCR (P.O.D.E.R). She has also served as a board member with the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective (IEIYC).
As a Capacity Building Coordinator, Aide believes that capacity building is an essential investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of organizations. She believes that is extremely important to be actively involved in community work that aims to improve the lives of immigrants and other marginalized communities. On her free time, Aide enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering and learning about new organizations.
Luis Suarez, Community Engagement and Policy Associate
Luis Suarez is the Policy Coordinator for the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice. He immigrated into the United States at the age of 8 with his parents from Jalisco, Mexico. Luis started organizing with the Inland Empire-Immigrant Youth Collective since 2012 and served as a board member of the organization for 4 years. He graduated from California State University, Los Angeles in 2016 with a B.S. in Kinesiology. As a student, he was part of Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and worked in a congressional office in Washington, DC. Luis’s vision is to be able to increase health access to undocumented immigrants while helping prevent health disparities that are dominant in communities of color. Luis is an avid hiker and enjoys spending time with his friends and family.
Jennaya Dunlap, Deportation Defense Coordinator
Jennaya Dunlap was raised in Southern California, and has lived in the Inland Empire for most of the past 15 years. She grew up in Southern California in an abusive home, leading her to find refuge and support in the local immigrant community as a teenager. As she became aware of the systemic abuses and injustice faced by immigrants, especially in communities of color, the fight for justice and liberation became a lifelong passion. She spent ten years volunteering with the Inland Empire rapid response network and with the Coalition before joining the ICIJ staff in 2017.
As the Deportation Defense Coordinator, Jennaya works to stop deportations, support directly impacted families, build legal response capacity, and to coordinate and strengthen the volunteer Emergency Response Network. She is a queer woman and mother of two young children, with whom she spends most of her free time, alongside creating art, enjoying music, and continuing to learn.
Saira Murillo, Immigrant Justice Fellow
Saira migrated to the U.S. at the age of 8 and has lived in the Inland Empire ever since. Growing up in the IE, Saira witnessed a lack of support for undocumented youth and their families. Now at the age of 25, Saira has been actively involved for almost seven years in creating a space for undocumented youth where they can have the tools to self-advocate to live unafraid and unapologetic, especially in this crucial time where immigrant communities need to continue leading and shaping their own narratives. Saira hopes to continue contributing towards an intersectional movement in the Inland Empire.
IC4IJ has been recognized by the local press for positive contributions to the community.
New York Times
Orange County Register
San Bernardino Sun
INovember 10, 2015:
Inland region reacts as Obama plan is readied for Supreme Court
November 6, 2015:
Protesters gather at Adelanto facility
April 11, 2015:
IMMIGRATION: Parents fighting for kids to stay in U.S.
Here are some of the campaigns that IC4IJ is proudly leading! Message us today to get involved!
Undocumented Californians contribute billions of dollars to California’s economy, yet more than a million lack access to affordable health care coverage. Health care is a human right and providing health coverage to everyone – regardless of immigration status – is the right thing to do. Join us in fighting for #Health4All because a health care system that excludes anyone, hurts everyone.
It is estimated that there are 300,000 undocumented individuals living in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. With those living in San Bernardino County with only having access to restricted Medi-Cal (Emergency Medical).
Our goal is to continue increasing health access for everyone. We are currently working on the following campaigns:
Health4All San Bernardino
In 47 other counties in California, non-emergency care services are provided for adult undocumented immigrants, according to the report titled “Coverage of Undocumented Immigrants.” San Bernardino County is 1 out 11 counties in California that does not have a county safety net program that covers undocumented adults. There are various existing state programs that provide undocumented adults with significant coverage. In other counties the coverage is available for services like prenatal care, breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatment, HIV/AIDS related treatments, emergency situations, STD screenings and treatment and family planning services.
#Health4All SB 974
Health4All Act removes an eligibility barrier to full-scope Medi-Cal for low-income undocumented adults. SB 974 builds on the gains California has made and takes the Golden State one step closer to universal coverage. Ensuring that everyone has access to health care, regardless of their immigration status.
The rural community of Adelanto, California, is home to an immigration detention facility, a county jail, a state prison, and a neighboring federal prison that together hold an overwhelming 9,965 people—almost one third of the city’s total population. With the unrealistic belief that prison building would revitalize the community, Adelanto struck a lousy deal that failed to make the city live up to its slogan of “Unlimited Possibilities.” Instead, the community suffers from a dearth of jobs, persistent low median income, an unhealthy prioritization of jails over schools, political scandal, and a populace that has come to view the local prison economy as a blight and a drain. To make matters worse, while the city continues to teeter on the edge of bankruptcy, large private prison corporations rake in millions of dollars in revenue from federal contracts secured by Adelanto. On July 1, 2015, one of the most profitable private prison corporations, The GEO Group (GEO), finished expansion of the Adelanto Detention Facility (ADF), making it the largest adult immigration detention center in the United States with the capacity to imprison 1,940 men and women.
The Adelanto Detention Facility currently houses our immigrant community that is currently waiting for their immigration court hearing. While in detention our individuals have suffered from mistreatment, inadequate healthcare, overuse of solitary confinement and even death. There has been 6 deaths since ADF began its operations in 2011.