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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dolores Street, along with Legal Services for Children and the ACLU secured release from detention for detained juveniles in special hearings pursuant to the ACLU-NC’s case, Saravia v. Sessions (Due Process for Immigrant Youth.
“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.”
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 https://www.aclu.org/issues/release-rosa-maria-hernandez?redirect=ReleaseRosaTW&ms=TW_171027_immigrantrights_rosamaria.
Dolores Street Community Services issued the following letter of support for Rosa Maria.
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.
"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."
"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."
"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.' ”
“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.
"Dennis Herrera, San Francisco’s City Attorney says sanctuary policies make all of the city’s residents safer."
DSCS Client, Eva: "I want to tell all those women who have been violated by those men, yes, we can continue to stand up for ourselves because this will always be a sanctuary city."
"Anyone who sees Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity in San Francisco can call (415) 200-1548 at any time. A call to the hotline initiates a process that includes nonprofits sending their own staff to the scene of the report to verify what happened, remind people of their rights, and if necessary, provide legal support."
" 'We want to let everyone here in San Francisco know that we have a system in place ready to respond, that they’re not alone, and that we’re a sanctuary city that cares about our immigrant population,' [Dolores Street's Marisela] Esparza said."
"It is essential that we prioritize this basic, due-process protection for San Franciscans facing deportation. Not only do they lose when they are deported, San Francisco loses as well."
Op-Ed Authors: Jeff Adachi is the San Francisco Public Defender. Niloufar Khonsari is the executive director of Pangea Legal Services. Ana Herrera is the managing immigration attorney with Dolores Street Community Services. Laura Sanchez is the director of CARACEN Immigration Legal Program.
Ana Camila Herrera, Managing Attorney, Dolores Street Community Services, a member of the San Francisco Immigration Legal Defense Collaborative, shares how renewed funding by the city for the SFILDC will help provide representation to unaccompanied minors and families in immigration court.