History of ICIJ
By Javier Hernandez
Immigrants have always been an essential part of the fabric of the Inland Empire community and have contributed significantly to the immense growth of the region. Beyond the economic contributions of immigrants, which makes the Inland Empire one of the fastest-growing metro regions in the United States, the region has benefited from the cultural richness that makes the IE diverse and welcoming. As the region continues to grow, more and more immigrants from diverse backgrounds will call the IE their home, and our landscape will inevitably change. Already, there is a growing and vast network of immigrant rights organizations that provide essential services, advance local and statewide policy efforts, and ensure effective policy implementation. The IE has been the battleground for some of the most impactful Statewide legislation, such as Licenses for All (AB 60) and the California Values Act (SB 54), both of which passed with strong support from IE legislators.
At the center of the work to advance the rights of immigrants has stood the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ). In 2008, a group of leaders in the Inland Empire came together to discuss how to expand immigrant rights in the region and how to build support for immigration reform. Over the years, we have evolved into a dynamic, diverse, and well-renowned Coalition, an 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. In the last 15 years, the Coalition has led campaigns to end immigration enforcement programs, pushed back against anti-immigrant hate groups like the KKK and the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, won legal settlements protecting the rights of immigrants, expanded essential services in hard-to-reach and low-served areas, and proven that it is possible to make the Inland Empire a more welcoming region for immigrants.
This year, 2023, we are celebrating our 15-year anniversary!
As we reflect on the years of our collective impact, we want to honor the Coalition’s founders, who had a vision of building an intersectional movement for immigrants rooted in the love for our communities. We also want to remember those that have worked with the Coalition and are no longer with us, like Aidê Arana, Joaquin Cobaruvias, and Socorro Cisneros, who tirelessly advocated for immigrant justice in the IE.
Looking forward, we will continue to advance justice and build power for immigrants for years to come. Building upon the last 15 years of victories, we are enthusiastic for what the future holds in the IE and envision a region that embodies justice for immigrants, workers, the LGBTQ community, and all marginalized communities.
Join us in Celebrating our 15th Anniversary! Become a member today. Help us continue our work for years to come and be part of the exciting celebrations that we will be hosting throughout the year.
About the Author
Javier is a Dreamer and has been an immigrant’s rights advocate for several years. Javier now serves as our Executive Director, leading the ICIJ team with a passion to serve our community.