Skip to content
Emergency Response Network: 909-361-4588
about the inland empire

coalition for immigrant justice

Who We Are

The ICIJ, is composed of over 35 organizations that serve the immigrant community in the Inland Empire. The IC4IJ currently focuses on advocacy, changing the narrative, and capacity building. Our coalition engages in policy advocacy, community organizing and education, and rapid response to ICE and border patrol operations. We are collectively changing the narrative of the one million immigrants who live, thrive, and are a foundational part of the fabric of the IE. We are building organizational capacity through leadership development, cooperation, support networks, and shared regional strategies. Lastly, the IC4IJ provides resources such as training, technical support, and grants to coalition partners to further support their efforts and mission in the region.

Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Mission

The Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice is dedicated to convening organizations to collectively advocate and work to improve the lives of immigrant communities while working toward a just solution to the immigration system

Vision

We envision a region and state where justice abounds and the contributions of immigrants are respected and help create a more prosperous region and state for everyone.

About the inland empire 

coalition for immigrant justice

History

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 identity.

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 Californianas. 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.

Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice

Staff

Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez

Executive Director

Javier Hernandez

Executive 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, socioeconomic status, criminalization, and other disparities that keep undocumented immigrants marginalized. Javier 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 (IC4IJ), a coalition of over 50 diverse organizations that convene to collectively advocate for immigrant justice in the Inland Empire.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Luis Cabrales

Luis Cabrales

Associate Director

Luis Cabrales

Associate Director
Luis R. Cabrales is Associate Director at the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice. An immigrant from Durango, Mexico, Luis grew up in South Central Los Angeles. He attended college in the early 1990’s, when undocumented students had to hide their legal status to be able to get an education. Despite experiencing homelessness, incarceration and deportation, he graduated Cum Laude in Cultural Anthropology from CASULA, and received a certificate in Volunteer Youth Agency Administration from American Humanics University. Luis has 25 years of experience as a social, environmental and immigrant rights advocate. Throughout his career, Luis has worked to empower immigrant and low-income communities to connect social ills with civic and voter participation. His campaigns have reached millions of people information about public and environmental health policies and affordable housing and homelessness prevention. In 2011, Luis was recognized as a Champion of Change by President Obama (in absentia) for his work reducing air pollution in communities of color. Luis has been featured on Telemundo, Univision, and La Opinion, among many national publications. In 2013, author Linda Marsa highlighted Luis’ contributions to the environmental justice movement in Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Hurt Our Health -- and how we can save ourselves.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Lizbeth (Castillejos) Abeln

Lizbeth (Castillejos) Abeln

Deportation Defense Director

Lizbeth (Castillejos) Abeln

Deportation Defense Director
Lizbeth (Castillejos) Abeln was born in Chiapas, Mexico. She was raised in Bloomington, CA  and later moved to Orange County to pursue her Bachelors Degree in Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. Lizbeth has advocated for immigrant rights in higher education and also in her community, where she has served as the Southern Region Coordinator for the California Dream Network (CHIRLA) and as a Research Assistant for research focused on the effects of immigrant detention and deportation. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, exploring new cities, and attending music festivals. As the Immigrant Detention Coordinator, Lizbeth will utilize her experience working personally with immigrant communities and give support to vulnerable immigrants and families who face detention and deportation proceedings. Emotional, financial, and Legal support are all crucial aspects to further immigrant justice. She plans to accomplish this through community engagement in the high desert and policy advocacy at a local and statewide level. Lizbeth believes that in order to achieve immigrant justice, we must end all expansion and efforts of institutions that criminalize immigrants and obstructs them from pursuing a decent life wherever they should migrate.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Lyzzeth Mendoza

Lyzzeth Mendoza

Policy Director

Lyzzeth Mendoza

Policy Director
Lyzzeth is always looking forward to learning from people especially through listening… she was born and raised in the Inland Empire, soon after her family left Los Angeles in the late 80s. Her family is originally from México and arrived  45 years ago. Lyzzeth’s experiences led her to acquire a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Public Relations from California State University, 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 10 years. Lyzzeth has gathered community organizing experience with various organizations in the Inland Empire and Orange County. [ 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 organizing 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. In her free time, Lyzzeth enjoys spending time with her friends and family, taking road trips, and exploring nature.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Eddie Torres

Eddie Torres

High Desert Organizer

Eddie Torres

High Desert Organizer
Eddie is a proud son of Mexican immigrants. He is passionate about dismantling the capitalist institutions that perpetuate the marginalization of our most vulnerable communities. Eddie earned a Bachelor's degree from University of California, Riverside majoring in International Affairs. He has years of experience working for several municipalities and the California State Assembly. With his free time Eddie enjoys spending time with his wife, hiking with his dogs, working out, and reading. His favorite quote and words to live by are, " Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it."-- Frantz Fanon.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Olga Flores

Olga Flores

Community Resources Coordinator

Olga Flores

Community Resources Coordinator
Olga Flores is an immigrant from Mexico City who has been living in the United States for 20 years. She became a volunteer with ICIJ during Operacion Bienvenida when we welcomed hundreds of asylum seekers to the Inland Empire. Her passion for supporting and empowering people in her community translates to her work at ICIJ. Most recently, Olga co-led the Community Justice Fund which has disbursed over $2.4 million dollars to immigrants that were excluded from state and federal COVID-19 financial relief.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Armando Carmona

Armando Carmona

Communications Director

Armando Carmona

Communications Director
Armando Carmona is a media strategist & storyteller committed to social change.  Trains spokespeople for local and national outlets, produces stories, and provides strategic connections to news teams across the country.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Tamara Marquez

Tamara Marquez

Communications Coordinator

Tamara Marquez

Communications Coordinator
Tamara Marquez was born in Mexico City and migrated to the United States when she was 13 years old. Tamara is passionate about sharing the obstacles immigrants face day to day and fights to fix the broken immigration system in this country. Tamara attended the University of California Riverside and graduated in 2020 with a degree in Media Culture Studies and Spanish. Her aspirations, as the Communications Coordinator, are to support people who are detained or being released from immigrant detention centers by sharing their testimonies in order to abolish detention centers and free all immigrants. Tamara is working towards uplifting their stories through the media in order to change the narrative towards the immigrant communities. In her free time Tamara enjoys going on hikes, spending time with her family and friends, and working out.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Jessica Hernandez

Jessica Hernandez

Digital Organizer

Jessica Hernandez

Digital Organizer
Jessica Hernandez was raised in South Central Los Angeles, and moved to the Inland Region in 2009. As the daughter of immigrants, she learned early on the importance of being able to navigate the complicated system. Jessica has worked towards participating in her communities, and helping to strengthen them by connecting them with the wellness resources available throughout the IE. As Digital Coordinator, Jessica joins the IC4IJ team to share her skills and build community through sharing stories and experiences that run throughout the IE. Through this work, she will uplift immigrant  narratives that contribute to the work that defends and empowers our communities. Jessica’s other passions include gardening, eating amazing food, and spending time with her friends and family.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Araceli Caldera

Araceli Caldera

Office Manager

Araceli Caldera

Office Manager
araceli [at] icij [dot] org
Araceli Caldera is a daughter of immigrant parents, her mother from Sinaloa, Mexico, and her father from Baguio City, Philippines. Growing up with immigrant parents, Araceli witnessed the struggles to obtain services due to language barriers and discrimination. In her career, she has worked to address these barriers and address the challenges facing immigrants in the Inland Empire.  As the ICIJ Census Coordinator, Araceli ensured that the diverse immigrant communities of the IE were counted. She now oversees a variety of projects including Redistricting, Community Membership, and Managing the various ICIJ Office Spaces.

In Memoriam

Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
In Loving Memory of Aidé Arana

In Loving Memory of Aidé Arana

1988 - 2019

In Loving Memory of Aidé Arana

1988 - 2019

Aidé Arana was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco on August 26th, 1988. Aidé was passionate about creating opportunities for her family and others; she was firm in her belief for justice. Aidé was kind and fierce; she did not have to choose one over the other. She was selfless; even in hard times, she put the needs of her family and loved ones first. She achieved many of her dreams, including graduating from the University of California, Riverside with a major in Sociology in 2017 and working to advance immigrant rights with the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ). Everything she achieved was always with the motivation of lifting up and honoring her family.                                                                                                                                                        We learned so much from Aidé. She was wise beyond her years and shared with us the lessons she learned from a well-lived, although too brief, life. She taught us to stand up for what we believe in, dream big, be courageous in the face of struggle, help others in need, and enjoy life to the fullest. Most of all, she taught us to be kind to one another. Aidé loved her family and friends so much; she always saw the best in those around her and was a loving, supportive, and loyal daughter, sister, partner, and friend.                                                                                                                                                          We honor Aidé by spreading her kindness and love to others.

Steering Committee

Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Emilio Amaya

Emilio Amaya

Executive Director, SAN BERNARDINO COMMUNITY SERVICE CENTER, INC.

Emilio Amaya

Executive Director, SAN BERNARDINO COMMUNITY SERVICE CENTER, INC.
Born in Mexico, Emilio Amaya migrated to this country when he was 13-years-old as an unaccompanied minor. He went through the experience of being a homeless child, migrant worker, day laborer, food worker, and union representative. He is a founding member of Libreria del Pueblo, Inc. in San Bernardino, CA and currently serves as Executive Director of San Bernardino Community Service Center, Inc. in the Inland Empire, where he has been involved in immigrant rights defense and advocacy. His organization provides direct immigration and legal services to immigrants in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Abraham Joven

Abraham Joven

Director of Advocacy

Abraham Joven

Director of Advocacy
(909) 475-5351
Abraham A. Joven is the Director of the Office of Advocacy for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino. Born in the Philippines and raised in a working-class community in Los Angeles, Abraham has long been inspired by the intersection of faith and social justice. He is also a published poet, essayist, and fiction writer, focusing on themes centering immigrant narratives.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Angel Fajardo

Angel Fajardo

Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective

Angel Fajardo

Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective
(909) 833-1412
Angel Fajardo was born in Mexico D.F. and grew up in the Inland Empire; she graduated from the University of California Riverside in 2016 with a degree in Global Studies. Angel has dedicated 6 years to organizing with local organizations such as Mi Familia Vota, Inland Congregations United for Change, the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, and Catholic Relief Services at UCR. As the Director of the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective (IEIYC), Angel believes that empowering youth and building leaders is essential to create a community in which all people, regardless of status, ethnicity, or class, can live with dignity, grace, and power. Angel is honored to lead the IEIYC through a strong, positive, and fresh new pathway to triumph for the immigrant community in the inland empire.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Fernando Romero

Fernando Romero

Executive Director, Centro de Oportunidad Económica de Pomona (PEOC) 

Fernando Romero

Executive Director, Centro de Oportunidad Económica de Pomona (PEOC) 
Fernando has been the Executive Director for the PEOC since January 2015. He has an extensive background and experience in community organizing on immigrant rights and workers rights. Fernando lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for 21 years since the age of 8. As of August 2015, he is accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to conduct document preparation and at low-cost for immigration benefits  He was the Director for the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice from 2011 to 2015 where some of the most prominent work was that of the crisis of the Migrant Children and Families in Murrieta, CA during July 2014. As an undocumented student at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), he studied creative writing and journalism and was a co-founder of FUEL, the first AB 540 support group at CSULB, co-founder of the independent, on-campus publication focused on Latina/Latino students El Reflejo and the video blog project for undocumented youth Dreamers Adrift.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Luis Nolasco

Luis Nolasco

Senior Policy Advocate and Organizer, ACLU of Southern California

Luis Nolasco

Senior Policy Advocate and Organizer, ACLU of Southern California
Luis Nolasco is a senior community engagement and policy advocate at the ACLU of Southern California, working from the Inland Empire office. He graduated with a B.A. in psychology from California State University, San Bernardino and was one of the co-founders of the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective. He currently sits on the board of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (IC4IJ). His work is focused on the intersections between the criminal justice system and immigration systems. He began his work on these issues with Shut Down the Broward Transitional Center (BTC) in Boca Raton, Florida in 2012. Since then he has been active in the fight to dismantle the collaboration between local law enforcement and immigration authorities, and the fight against mass incarceration in the Inland Valleys. Luis was a leading force in the effort to eliminate 287-G agreements locally and played a key role in organizing the statewide campaign for SB54, the California Values Act.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Tom Dolan

Tom Dolan

Executive Director-Regionwide,  Inland Congregations United for Change

Tom Dolan

Executive Director-Regionwide,  Inland Congregations United for Change
tom@icucpico.co
Tom Dolan, Executive Director, Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC). Tom has been working in interfaith community organizing since 1976, when he began to learn organizing as a student with Holy Cross priests in Chimbote, Peru. Tom’s work as an organizer took him to work with churches in Peru, Ecuador and Chile, where he worked with the Chilean Quaker Service Committee, the Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Catholic Church. Since 2005 Tom has worked with ICUC, an interfaith organization with more than 60 member congregations of diverse faith traditions. He lives with his wife, Cecilia, and four children in the city of San Bernardino. Tom graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1978 and received his doctorate in Education in 2010.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Yesenia González

Yesenia González

Organizing Director, UFCW 1167

Yesenia González

Organizing Director, UFCW 1167
Yesenia González is the Organizing Director for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1167 (UFCW 1167). She started working in the labor movement after her experience organizing day laborers in Los Angeles and meat plant workers in Riverside.  There she met many wonderful hard-working people struggling to get by, yet happy to have opportunities their home countries did not provide. This experience prompted her passion to work and support all workers-especially those who are marginalized because of their immigration status. She has been organizing workers in the Inland Empire since 2009. Yesenia was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and immigrated to the U.S with her family at the age of six. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Miguel Benitez

Miguel Benitez

Senior Organizer, SEIU Local 2015

Miguel Benitez

Senior Organizer, SEIU Local 2015
For over 15 years, Miguel has been in the social justice movement. In 2005, he oversaw a tutoring program in East Los Angeles through the “No Child Left Behind” program. This program worked with low-income students in elementary school through high school to better their Math and Reading skills. In 2010, Miguel began to work with SEIU Local 2015. Now as a Senior Organizer, he works to represent workers mainly in San Bernardino and Ventura County. Miguel is committed to ensuring justice for all as he works on statewide level campaigns to fight for workers’ rights and for the community. Miguel is a graduate from UCLA with a major in Political Science and a minor in Chicano/a Studies. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Blanca Olivares

Blanca Olivares

Hispanos Unidos, Directora Ejecutiva

Blanca Olivares

Hispanos Unidos, Directora Ejecutiva
Blanca Olivares es una inmigrante de México y madre de dos hijos nacidos en los Estados Unidos. Blanca tiene 18 años viviendo en los Estados Unidos, y más de 15 años viviendo en el Inland Empire. En 2013 Blanca se unió a grupos comunitarios para luchar por el derecho de obtener licencias para todos, sin importar el estatus migratorio. En el 2013, nació la página en Facebook; Hispanos Unidos, con más de 26,000 miembros, esta página alertaba a la comunidad de retenes, operativos de ICE o CBP, y también involucra a los miembros en las campañas pro-inmigrantes. Después de una campaña exitosa para las licencias, la página sigue evolucionando ya que  la  problemática de nuestra comunidad indocumentada cambia y con ello el contenido de nuestra página y trabajo.
Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice
Vero Alvarado

Vero Alvarado

Deputy Director, Warehouse Workers Resource Center

Vero Alvarado

Deputy Director, Warehouse Workers Resource Center
Veronica Alvarado is the Deputy Director for the Warehouse Worker Resource Center.  Drawing from her cultural and working class background, she has been instrumental in assisting in the mobilization of warehouse workers, providing bilingual trainings to hundreds of workers and community members, and advocating on their behalf with employers, resource agencies, government agencies, legislatures regarding health and safety issues, and promoting, uplifting and reshaping the narrative about what Civic Engagement is and who it is for. Ms. Alavardo has provided training and presentations around the country regarding the plight of warehouse workers in the Inland Empire especially under the retail giant, Walmart and strategies to advocate on their behalf. More recently, she’s continued her work, uplifting the experiences of workers in the Amazon supply chain. Ms. Alvarado has also actively participated in state-wide and national coalitions working collaboratively with workers’ rights organizations to advance the working conditions of low-wage immigrant workers and has been part of statewide pushes that have demanded the establishment of a Safety Net 4 All, income wage replacement program for excluded undocumented workers. Our Steering Committee is composed of 10 individuals who represent their organizations who are partners of the coalition. Members of our steering committee share the common purpose of serving the immigrant and other underserved communities of the Inland Empire. Their purpose is to provide strategic direction and support to the IC4IJ director and staff.
Who We Are

Partner Organizations

Pomona Economic Opportunity Center (PEOC)
Learn More
Inland Congregations United for Change
Learn More
Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective
How can you support our fight?

Donate 
to IC4IJ

In the midst of the international COVID-19 pandemic, Immigrants detained in ICE detention centers are at high risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the disease. Even in normal circumstances, ICE has proven time and again that it is unable to protect the health and safety of detained people-- and now more than ever, their lives are at risk, especially those with a history of health problems.

Fight back by donating to free someone at high risk for COVID-19 from detention.

Inland Empire Coalition for Racial Justice