American Groups that Advocate for Civil, Human and Migrant Rights

The United States was founded by the championship for human rights. Since then, the country has remained at the forefront of fighting for civil, human, and migrant rights. It has been a perfect breeding ground for many organizations that advocate for human rights.

The American Immigration Lawyer Association (AILA)

AILA, a voluntary bar organization, formerly known as Association of Immigration and Nationality Lawyers (AINL), was founded in 1946. The organization has more than thirteen thousand attorneys and law professors.

It is a non-partisan and non-profit firm. AILA offers professional services, education, information, as well as expertise using its thirty-eight chapters and more than fifty national committees.

The attorneys are devoted to impacting the knowledge on immigration law to people. In addition, the attorneys represent U.S. families pursuing permanent residence for their relatives as well as U.S. businesses that are seeking talents from other countries. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Phoenix New Time

As a matter of public interest, the association also represents foreign athletes, students, entertainers, and asylum seekers.

Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund

It was established by the co-founders of Village Voice Media and Phoenix New Times, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. The two devoted their $3.75 million settlement funds acquired from their arrest by Sheriff Joe Arpaio to support organizations that champion for migrants rights in Arizona.

Jim and Michael were arrested, taken from their homes, and jailed at midnight by the Maricopa County Sheriff on October 18, 2007.

The two had exposed the existence of grand jury proceedings that sought after journalists’ notes on articles covering Joe Arpaio. The grand jury subpoenas had also demanded the identity of innocent citizens who read the New Times stories involving the sheriff online.

Larkin and Lacey took legal action against the county, and they prevailed. The Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund finances groups that champion for civil, human, and migration rights in addition to freedom of speech and civic participation rights across Arizona.

Coalition for Human Immigration Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)

As the name suggests, CHIRLA is based in Los Angeles and focuses on immigration rights. Formerly, the organization operated at a local level but it has evolved, and its influence is felt nationwide.

CHIRLA organizes and serves individuals, coalitions, and institutions to transform policies and public opinions with the aim of achieving civil rights. The organization has also championed for policies and legislations that benefit the migrant community.

CHIRLA collaborates with other advocacy organizations and networks targeting issues on immigration rights to achieve the common goals. For instance, it partnered with Coalition of Garment Worker Advocates (CGWA), whose main aim was to expose the violations of labor laws in the Los Angeles garment industry.

In 2001, the partnership established the Garment Worker Center which provided an opportunity for the workers to unite and come up with options to better working conditions.

Driven by the Heart: Thor Halvorssen’s Story & Fight for Human Rights

Human rights is sometimes a theme or blip in some people’s conversations, but these rights mean something else to those who understand what the absence of them could cause. A person that truly understands human rights, like Thor Halvorssen, also knows just how important it is to be dedicated to it.

Getting Personal With Thor Halvorssen

One could say that Thor has very big shoes to fill because he is a descendant of Simon “The Liberator” Bolivar or because he is also related to the first president of Venezuela, Cristobal Mendoza. But the truth is the only shoes that Thor cares about are his own. Yes, Halvorssen has seen the horrors that dictatorships can create. In fact, his father was imprisoned and tortured by Hugo Chavez’s people. This happened because his father exposed a major link between the Venezuelan government and drug cartels. Halvorssen’s mother was shot in an anti-Chavez demonstration.

Some have called Halvorssen a conservative because he has sided to the right of many left-wing officials in Southern America. But the truth is he has only sided with the people who were being oppressed. Halvorssen understands politics in a more human way. To him, an oppressive dictator is wrong no matter his party affiliation.

It was this burning love for people, for justice, and freedom that fueled Halvorssen to reach out to the Human Rights Foundation. He became president of the organization not too long after joining. Halvorssen is one of the youngest serving presidents of the organization, and he is also one of the most daring participants.

Thor–not long after joining the group–took an expedition to Vietnam. His mission took Thor to Ho Chi Minh City because he wanted to interview the patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam. This particular church had been banned by the oppressive government for decades. This proved to be a dangerous expedition, as he was caught by Vietnamese authorities. Halvorssen was arrested and beaten before he was able to fool the authorities into believing that he was nothing more than someone seeking Buddhism.

The Human Rights Foundation has definitely taken a more active role in defending the peoples of the world who are oppressed no matter what party or political ideology. And this is because–for Halvorssen–human rights are fundamental.

More information for Thor Halvorssen:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/is-this-the-face-of-a-new-global-human-rights-movement

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1812816/