Male day laborers are struggling, but their female counterparts in La Colectiva are cleaning up
 Raquel Botello, a recent immigrant from Guadalajara, says finding La Colectiva is the best thing that’s happened to her in the U.S. Photo by  Alison Yin

Raquel Botello, a recent immigrant from Guadalajara, says finding La Colectiva is the best thing that’s happened to her in the U.S. Photo by Alison Yin

As the Bay Area economy has boomed, so has the demand for housekeeping services — and the 110-member La Colectiva run out of the Day Labor Center on Cesar Chavez has thrived, employing new members and even creating new businesses.

“It’s grown a lot, and keeps growing. Right now there are maybe eight new faces at every meeting,” said Guillermina Castellanos, La Colectiva’s founder.

And no one is more surprised than the 54-year-old Castellanos. When she started the collective in 2000, it took her eight months to just get a job. Nowadays, new members can get a job the same week they walk into the center, and often the jobs can lead to full-time work.

“I used to have to pawn my stuff at first just so the collective could function,” she said. “I didn’t start getting full-time pay until 2007.”

And then things got better.


Mason Jeffrys
San Francisco Day Labor Program’s building hits market for $1.8M; plight of 400 day laborers in question

Jose Mauricio Ortiz was just 14 when he was drafted into the military to fight in the Salvadoran civil war. He stayed in the service for another 12 years before venturing abroad to find a way to support his six children.

He worked a number of odd jobs in Houston before making his way to California, where he suffered an injury while working in Fresno. One day, one of his superior officers called him from El Salvador and asked him about his location. He had a work visa ready to go, a parting gift courtesy of the military, one that would take him to Canada legally. But he was already in the U.S.

“If I had known that, I wouldn’t be here illegally,” Ortiz said in Spanish.

Ortiz, now 47, has been a San Francisco day laborer for the past eight years. He sleeps wherever he can, he said, sometimes on park benches or against the outside wall of a shelter when all the beds are full. Calling it a “home away from home,” Ortiz now relies on the San Francisco Day Labor Program at 3358 Cesar Chavez for services like healthcare and legal representation. Five years ago, he says, he was beaten by employers and arrested after they claimed he was the aggressor.


Mason Jeffrys
Our new Executive Director, Laura Valdéz, in the news!

For the first time in many years, Dolores Street Community Services has welcomed a new out executive director, Laura Valdéz.

Valdéz, 47, started July 30 at the Mission district nonprofit that provides resources for homeless, people living with disabling HIV/AIDS, and low-income, immigrant, and minority communities.

The agency, which is marking its 35th anniversary this year, is having a garden party reception to welcome Valdéz Thursday, September 6, and the public is invited.

Valdéz, who identifies as queer, is a longtime human rights activist and former deputy director of Gay Straight Alliance Network, now known as Gender & Sexualities Alliance Network.

Read more at the Bay Area Reporter ->

Mason Jeffrys
AB 2314 Passes Senate- Congratulations to the women of La Colectiva!
header_home copy.jpg

Thanks to the work of our tireless member leaders, our fierce Leadership Empowerment Coordinator, Evelin Alfaro, and our Lider Consagrada, Guillermina Castellanos, as well as hundreds of domestic workers in California, AB 2314 passed the senate and is headed to Jerry Brown's desk.

AB2314 seeks a robust set of education, outreach and enforcement elements that will benefit domestic workers across the state, with the hope to inspire other states to adopt similar approaches

The women of La Colectiva are founders and leaders in the domestic worker movement in California and the United States and together with the CA Domestic Workers Coaliton, are responsible for the first-in-history permanent bill of rights for domestic workers in California, AB1015.

Over the next months, there will be continued advocacy for Governor Brown to sign AB 2314, and take the next step in implementing the rights that they have worked so hard to win!

Read more about La Colectiva

Read more about AB 2314

Mason Jeffrys
United Airlines Announces $1 Million Grant To Support Immigrant Legal Advocacy

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announces a $1 million grant to the San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network (SFILEN) to increase its advocacy and community engagement endeavors in the immigrant community. The four-year grant will allow SFILEN's Rapid Response Network to add staff and to strengthen its legal and education services. United's grant also will help SFILEN provide mental health evaluations and interpretation services.

Read further

Mason Jeffrys
Dolores Street helps crucial housing measure make it to the ballot

What a great victory! 

Dolores Street had over 20 staff and members collecting over 700 signatures for the Our City, Our Home SF initiative. 

The collected 28,000 signatures are a mandate from voters to pass this initiative and house the people of San Francisco! 

For more information on Our City, Our Home SF check out 

or go to


Mason Jeffrys

Earlier this month we ran, a Mexican artist who’d been in the US for over 20 years. Despite having established a family and a home in this country, Jose was detained by ICE and placed in an immigration jail since September of last year.

We have some good news! Jose was released and it was all possible because of Bay Area activists like yourself. Here’s the rundown about it from Alejandra Rosero, an attorney for Dolores Street Community Services, the organization that represented Jose and got him out of the detention center:

In honor of Father’s Day and in solidarity to thousands of detained immigrant fathers who have been ripped away from their children as they fight their deportation, Dolores Street Community Services joined forces with the Bay Area Immigration Bond FundFreedom for Immigrants, and the Bay Area Sanctuary Neighborhoods to launch the campaign #FreeOurFathers to bring fathers back to their children for Father’s Day.

Thanks to #FreeOurFathers and the support and resilience of the community, Jose— an immigrant father who has lived in the Bay Area for more than 20 years – regained his freedom and is back with his nine-year old daughter.

Read more

Mason Jeffrys
Marisela Esperanza honored at the Annual Women's History Month Ceremony

Marisela Esparza, Dolores Street Community Services staff was nominated by SF Mayor Mark Farrell as an honoree at the Annual Women’s History Month Ceremony held on March 21 at City Hall, recognizing women in our community who are courageous leaders improving the quality of life for San Franciscans. The theme for the 2018 Women’s History Month celebration is “Nevertheless She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination.”  Marisela is the San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network (SFILEN) Program Manager and provides extraordinary leadership to a collaboration of 13 immigration organizations throughout the city that provide outreach, community education, and free or low-cost legal services to immigrants from many diverse countries and regions of the world.

Mason Jeffrys
Border Report: The Anatomy of a Rapid Response Network

In response to the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants, San Diego immigration advocates came together in December to officially launch a rapid response network.

Networks like this have been popping up around the country, not only in response to the recent surge in immigration enforcement, but during the last decade.

ight years ago, Alianza Comunitaria started a network in North County that alerts people of raids and checkpoints. During the Lilac Fire, it provided information about shelters and other updates.

After the launch of the San Diego rapid response network, I wanted to learn more about how these networks actually work, how they help immigrant communities facing enforcement crackdowns and what it takes to organize and operate them.

I started by calling Marisela Esperanza, the program manager of San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network, who currently coordinates the San Francisco Rapid Response Network — the oldest of its kind in the country. That same morning the San Francisco Chronicle had published a story describing a massive immigration sweep in Northern California, so she was in the middle of mobilizing the rapid response network in preparation.

Continue reading here

Mason Jeffrys
ICE raid false alarms throw SF Mission community into panic

Community members went into a panic on Wednesday after rumors spread that agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, were raiding various locations in the Mission and Bayview.

John O’Connell High School locked its doors and posted security outside, according to a source.

But the rumors turned out to be false alarms. Members of the San Francisco Rapid Response Network, a coalition of advocacy organizations, visited the sites and verified that immigration agents were not making arrests. The 24-hour hotline for suspected raids in San Francisco is 415-200-1548.  

“We couldn’t verify that ICE officers were detaining anyone in the Mission today,” said Ana Herrera, a lawyer with Dolores Street Community Services who works with the Rapid Response Network.

Mason Jeffrys

Contact: Ana Herrera, Dolores St. Community Services: 415-857-1935

The FREE SF Coalition -- including Asian Law Caucus, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, CARECEN-SF, Causa Justa::Just Cause, Community United Against Violence, CA Immigrant Policy Center, Dolores Street Community Services, Faith in Action Bay Area, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Legal Services for Children, Pangea Legal Services, SEIU USWW, and WRSF Labor Center -- issued the following statement today:

ICE's recent threats fit into a long pattern of manipulation, fear-mongering, and retaliation.  

But no amount of bluster and intimidation can obscure the fundamental truth that immigrants are a vital part of our families and communities. 

Cities and states that recognize our common humanity and refuse to help the administration deport millions of our neighbors are on the right side of history. 

Now is the time for all people of conscience to step up and speak out. Together, we must resist and reject the Trump administration's political repression and vulgar racism. 

We will use every tool at our disposal to protect every person who calls California home from federal abuses of power. 

Community organizations have created a series of rapid response hotlines in Northern California. The SF hotline number is 415-200-1548

Spotlight on Jazzie's Place

Several San Francisco churches are offering winter shelter to people in the city who are homeless, but they are only for men.

Michael Pappas, the gay executive director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council, one of the city's partners on the program, said that when it started in 1988, "that was the greatest need," and "it's difficult" for churches "to host folks of different genders."

"There's never been an ask to change it," said Pappas, and that's how the program will remain next year. He said that Episcopal Community Services, another program partner, does offer shelters for women. An Episcopal Community Services spokeswoman didn't respond to a request for comment.

Yesenia Lacayo, the program director for Jazzie's Place, a shelter designed to be welcoming for LGBTQs, said that people who want to get into that shelter need to get on a waitlist through Mission Neighborhood Resource Center.

Read more here

Mason Jeffrys
SFWeekly, A Burning Need for Sprinklers: In the wake of several large fires, Sup. Aaron Peskin fights to improve safety at S.F.'s single-room occupancy hotels.

“We live in fear of having fires all the time,” says Candy Crawford, a resident at Mission Hotel. . . .

The risk of fire is not a small one for residents of single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels. Many are low-income, living on disability checks or Social Security — and often, whole families share rooms. In a city suffering from a fierce, relentless housing crisis, these small units — most without kitchens or even bathrooms of their own — become home for thousands of people trying to make ends meet in San Francisco. Lose that, and you lose everything. . . .

The “saving lives” portion is very real. Tim Hwang [of Dolores Street] leads fire prevention workshops at SROs around the city, and says that he speaks to many residents with limited mobility.

Cookie Howard, a tenant leader at the Mission SRO Collaborative and who lives in a residential hotel, says “we’ve had several fires since I’ve been there. I’m trained in NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Training) and I have been a safety monitor in our building. I don’t know how many fires we’ve had and the sprinklers haven’t gone off one time.”

Dolores Street Condemns Detention of 10-year-old Rosa Maria When She Should Have Been Recovering From Surgery

Border Patrol agents followed the ambulance and camped outside the hospital room of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy getting emergency surgery – then jailed her in a detention center for kids. See

Dolores Street Community Services issued the following letter of support for Rosa Maria.

Dolores Street's DACA Statement

In light of attacks on the rights of immigrants from the current administration, and its recent rescinding of DACA, Dolores Street Community Services (DSCS) wants our staff, clients and the greater community we serve to know that we are a safe place free from discrimination and ICE activity. We affirm our 35 year commitment to meeting the immediate needs of low-income and immigrant communities in San Francisco. DSCS was founded on these principles in 1982 when we opened our doors to create safe and sheltered space in the Mission District for refugees fleeing war and famine in Central America and it continues to be the bedrock of our core belief to stand in solidarity as we address and resist the root causes of suffering and injustice.

Earlier in the month, Dolores Street Community Service’s own Deportation Defense & Legal Advocacy Program publicly denounced this administration's cruel decision to rescind DACA. We believe in the inherent value and power of our communities and rise in solidarity with all 11 million undocumented brothers and sisters.

We face this moment grounded in our collective resilience--inspired and determined to continue to organize, advocate, and provide culturally and linguistically competent, zealous representation to those who are fighting back against the most egregious due process violations in the immigration system. Will you stand with us?

Join us at this year’s 2017 Open Palm Awards on Friday, September 15th, where we will celebrate Dolores Street's accomplishments as well as honor community heroes who work tirelessly for dignity, respect and human rights for immigrants, low income, and homeless communities.

For more information visit our website,, and our Deportation Defense Program's site,  

KQED, Jailing Immigrants Means Money and Jobs for Poor Areas. Is this Deal Humane?

"Kelly Wells, an immigration attorney with Dolores Street Community Services, took on Rafael’s deportation case. But she said she ended up spending a lot of her time pushing jail officials to provide proper medical care." . . .

"Ongoing reports of inadequate care for immigrant detainees in California jails and private prisons prompted several state lawmakers to try to overhaul the state’s role in ICE detention."

ICE, Backlogged US Courts Are Stranding Asylum Seekers in Detention

"There's a massive pile of deportation cases, and a severe shortage of judges. That leaves some vulnerable people stuck behind bars. . . . 

Because Magaly escaped domestic violence back home, she had a strong case for asylum in the US, says Alejandra Rosero, her immigration attorney, who works for Dolores Street Community Services in San Francisco. But because of Magaly's fake visa, detention center officials refused to release her—and that was just the beginning."

NBC Bay Area, Immigration Advocates File Police Accountability Complaint Following SFPD Deportation Threat

"Civil rights advocates are calling for swift sanctions against a San Francisco police officer after an NBC Bay Area hidden camera investigation showed the officer threatening to deport a group of minorities.

Friday, the FREE SF Coalition called for Police Chief William Scott to discipline officer Joshua Fry alleging the officer violated San Francisco’s Sanctuary City policy.

'We are deeply disturbed by the recent undercover video that captured an SFPD officer threatening a group of Latino and Asian people with deportation,' the group said in a Statement. 'That an SFPD officer racially profiled and threatened people of color with deportation in perhaps the most well-known sanctuary city is shameful and an affront to our deepest values. Authorities must treat all people fairly, regardless of their background, where they were born, what they look like.' ”

San Francisco Public Defender Immigration Unit Launches Today

“Mass deportation is against our core values as Americans and San Franciscans,” [San Francisco Public Defender Jeff] Adachi said. “Due process still means something in this country and we are not going to let the federal government ship off our friends and neighbors without a fight.”

Francisco Ugarte, who founded DSCS's Deportation Defense and Legal Advocacy Program, will be the managing attorney of the Public Defender's new Immigration Unit. Our program looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the unit in responding to the overwhelming need for representation in the San Francisco Immigration Court.