Meet Carlos Amador, a Formerly Undocumented Immigrant Running for LA City Council

Lead Photo: Art by Alan López for Remezcla
Art by Alan López for Remezcla
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Last October, Mitch Englander – the lone Republican on the Los Angeles City Council – resigned. Because there were two years left on his term, a special election will take place on June 4, and 15 candidates are hoping to fill the vacated seat. It’s a competitive field, with many running grassroots campaigns and pushing for progressive politics. But some have made a splash, including Carlos Amador.

With plenty of advocacy experience and with a focus on families, Amador decided to throw his hat in the ring. “I’m running for office because I want to live in a community where the streets are safe for my daughter and her friends to play freely, where her teachers are valued and supported to give the best to our children, and where everyone has access to good jobs that allow us to live good lives,” his website reads.

With a few weeks until the election takes place, here are five things you should know about Amador, who hopes to represent Chatsworth, Granada Hills, Northridge, Porter Ranch, Sherwood Forest, North Hills, West Hills, and Reseda.


He grew up undocumented.

Amador is originally from Mexico. When he was 14, he and his family moved to the United States. Because he was undocumented, it presented challenges in his life.

“Living as an undocumented immigrant youth was complicated to say the least,” he wrote on Medium. “But, thanks to my family, friends, and the community, I have been able to achieve huge milestones in my life. I had the rare opportunity to become a U.S. citizen. I am a proud graduate from UCLA with a Masters in Social Work. I am a community organizer, and have led advocacy campaigns at the local, state, and federal level. My wife Bridgette and I have been able to become homeowners. And, most importantly, we have a brilliant, funny, and full-of-life daughter.”


He worked as a janitor while he went to school.

In high school, Carlos began working as a janitor on weekends. He continued working as a janitor at nights while he attended college. “It was during these years – working back-breaking jobs – where Carlos learned that every job has dignity and every task is essential to make our communities function,” his site reads.


He has a long activist history.

In 2003, Carlos joined the activist movement after his brother was deported. He became an organizer at California State University Fullerton, and after that, he continued his work in his community.

By 2009, he was a leader in the undocumented youth movement across the country. In 2010, he participated in a 15-day hunger strike outside of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office.

He’s followed that up by working at the California Immigrant Policy Center. “As an organizer, I’ve led campaigns that have changed the lives of millions of people,” he said in a recently released video.


His platform includes affordable housing.

Through community-driven processes and policy solutions, he wants to address homelessness and affordable housing. “After seeing that city hall cares more about developers than working families, i’ve decided to do more,” he said in a video. “Every day it gets harder for working families like mine to get by. The economy is booming but our salaries are stagnant. We see rent-controlled units being destroyed while luxury apartments go up in their place, and then our representatives wonder, ‘Where did all the affordable housing go?'”


Local environmental justice is important to him.

One of his goals is to get the Aliso Canyon Gas Facility closed. A few years ago, a massive leak made many sick.

“It is time that the city moves away from the use of fossil fuels and transition into a new Green era,” his site reads. “Carlos will advance policies that protect the environment, kick-start a localized green economy, and create green zones to help our city succeed and be healthy. Among other policies, Carlos will work to ban oil drilling across the city in order to protect the health and safety of our communities. Los Angeles can become the model city that tackles global warming while advancing an economy that works for all.”