Community Engagement & Organizing
Our programs strive to build community power across the intersection of immigrant rights, worker rights, and housing rights. Through community engagement, organizing, and advocacy, we aim to affect broader social change by addressing the root causes that perpetuate injustice.
Deportation Defense and Legal Advocacy Program
The Deportation Defense & Legal Advocacy Program (DDLAP) began as a response to immigration enforcement raids taking place in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2008. Since then, the program has grown to provide deportation defense in complex cases, as well as other immigrant legal services, while advocating to change the systems tearing our community apart.
Unlike in the criminal justice system, most immigrants have no right to an appointed attorney in immigration detention and deportation proceedings, even though many have legal avenues to fight their case.
Our Deportation Defense and Legal Advocacy Program evolved as an emergency response to unconstitutional raids in 2008. As the program has grown, we have maintained our focus on providing culturally and linguistically competent, zealous representation to those who are fighting back against the most egregious due process violations in the immigration system. Our practice has focused on representing survivors of ICE’s constitutional violations, unaccompanied minors and adults with children, immigrant detainees, individuals with impaired mental competency, and other community members.
IMMIGRANT LEGAL SERVICES
Dolores Street Community Services remains committed to meeting the emerging needs of our community neighbors. Although our Deportation Defense and Legal Advocacy Program was founded to provide immediate representation against immigration raids, the program also includes:
- Free immigration consultations and regular clinics to provide screenings, orientations, and assistance with urgent legal filings
- Referrals to our partner agencies, including the other organizations in the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network (SFILEN)
- Legal advice and assistance for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) eligible individuals
Guided by Dolores Street’s core values of dignity, resilience, solidarity, inclusivity, and redistributed power, our individual representation is integrated with advocacy work, in proud partnership with our many partners.
- Amplifying Client Voices: We prioritize our clients’ power to make change, from detained and formerly detained organizers leading the fight against unfair health and labor standards in detention facilities
,to individuals with physical and mental disabilities educating journalists about abuses in the immigration system.
- Building San Francisco’s Immigrant Community Power: We work to build the collective power of our city’s immigrant communities, through the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network (SFILEN), the San Francisco Immigration Legal Defense Collaborative (SFILDC), and Full Rights, Equality & Empowerment – San Francisco (FREE-SF). Together, we push San Francisco to reaffirm its commitment to Due Process for All, invest in services for education and defense of our immigrant communities, and fight back against federal threats to our city.
- Resisting Unjust Detention and Deportation Policies: We bring our clients’ experiences to fights for systemic change, including litigating for transparency about immigration raids, joining national advocates to challenge due process violations such as prolonged detention, and resisting new assaults on immigrant rights.
- Andrea Reyes, Skadden Fellow & Immigration Attorney
- Aradhana Tiwari, Immigration Attorney
- Karina Almanza, Program Assistant
- Kate Mahoney, Legal Program Director
- Cindy Ramirez, Immigration Attorney
- Elizabeth Davis, Senior Immigration Attorney
- Karina Fernandez, Legal Assistant
- Manuel Reyes, Legal Assistant
- Mattie Armstrong, EJW Fellow & Immigration Attorney
We work in partnership with the San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network (SFILEN), San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative (SFILDC), and Full Rights, Equality and Empowerment Coalition – San Francisco (FREE-SF).
If you need legal support, call us at (415) 282.6209 ext. 130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have witnessed ICE activity, please call the Rapid Response Network hotline at (415) 200-1548. For more information about the Network, click here.
Immigrant Rights and Community Empowerment
The Immigrant Rights and Community Empowerment Program (IRCE) was established in 2018 to build collective power among organizations and coalitions that are dedicated to immigrant rights in San Francisco and Northern California. The initiative aims to enhance the impact of this work, which prioritizes a transformative justice and healing justice approach.
IRCE provides leadership and coordination to the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network (SFILEN), the San Francisco Rapid Response Network (SFRRN), and the Northern California Rapid Response and Immigrant Defense Network (NCRRIDIN)- Bay Area region.
SF IMMIGRANT LEGAL & EDUCATION NETWORK
The San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network (SFILEN) is a network of 13 organizations that provide free legal assistance and community education to low-income immigrants in San Francisco. The network represents immigrants from African and Afro-Caribbean, Arab, API, and Latinx communities, providing services in over 20 languages and dialects.
The Network consists of the following organizations: African Advocacy Network, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), Central American Resource Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Filipino Community Center, Jubilee, La Raza Centro Legal, La Raza Community Resource Center, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights (PODER), Causa Justa:: Just Cause, and Dolores Street Community Services as the lead agency.
To request a workshop for your organization, email email@example.com or complete the following form here.
SF RAPID RESPONSE NETWORK
The San Francisco Rapid Response Network (SFRRN) consists of 21 organizations that provide legal and education services to immigrants living in San Francisco. The primary goal of the Network is to respond immediately in the event of any immigration enforcement activity. The Network leads a 24-hour daily hotline that provides ICE enforcement verification, attorney activation, and wrap-around service connection. The hotline offers interpretation of 250 languages for members of the public to report ICE activity.
The program is a collaboration between the SF Immigrant Legal and Education Network (SFILEN) and the SF Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative (SFILDC). Our mission is to serve and stand in solidarity with the immigrant community affected by increasingly severe ICE tactics, and to expose ICE abuses. We strive to achieve this by providing ‘Know Your Rights’ education, legal support, access to counsel, and accompaniment services with the goal of ending the deportation of our community members. Our vision for the network is for the San Francisco community to be empowered and prepared with information and resources to face the attacks that threaten the lives of immigrants every day. SFRRN believes that the best way to respond is with power not panic and is therefore rooted in the power of community.
If you have witnessed an ICE raid or need support related to immigration enforcement, please call the hotline at (415) 200-1548.
The Worker Center
The Worker Rights program consists of two collectives that have been uniting and organizing workers since 1991. The San Francisco Day Labor Program & The Women’s Collective joined Dolores Street Community Services in 2012, and since then, they continue to bring together immigrant workers to build collective power, develop skills, and operate a collective social enterprise.
Members of the collectives receive support, training, and job placement assistance related to domestic work and general day labor. Through education and organizing, the collectives aim to eradicate injustices that disproportionately affect domestic workers and day laborers. This includes improving working conditions, increasing knowledge about worker rights, and achieving a dignified and fair living wage for all.
The collectives are co-founders and leaders in the National Day Labor Organizing Network, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Progressive Workers Alliance, California Domestic Workers Coalition, Jobs with Justice, and San Francisco Rising, among others.
The collectives work closely with advisory organizations such as UC Berkeley’s Labor Occupational Health Program and the San Francisco Department of Public Health to provide training to our members related to improving working conditions, effective and safe cleaning techniques, and worker rights.
SAN FRANCISCO DAY LABOR PROGRAM
The San Francisco Day Labor Program is a worker-run collective that unites immigrant men to build community, strengthen skills in general day labor, and find dignified job placements. Jobs typically involve construction, maintenance, moving, gardening, or painting.
If you are interested in joining the SF Day Labor Program, contact us at (415) 252-5375.
If you are interested in hiring a member of the SF Day Labor Program, click here.
The Women’s Collective is a worker-run collective that empowers immigrant women to build community support, develop skills in domestic work, and receive job placement assistance. Jobs typically involve cleaning and other forms of housework.
If you are interested in joining the Women’s Collective, contact us at (415) 252-5376.
If you are interested in hiring a member of the Women’s Collective, click here.
DSCS is currently developing a business within the home care industry and in the form of a worker cooperative. We are partnering with Democracy at Work Institute, which has developed dozens of immigrant worker cooperatives across the country. We aim to launch the cooperative in January 2023.
In a cooperative, workers are also co-owners of the business. As owners, they can legally participate in the business and file taxes with a Tax Identification Number (ITIN). This allows all immigrants, regardless of documentation status, to participate equally and legally in the business. Co-ownership also means that the businesses’ decisions are made according to collective agreements, and the businesses’ profits and losses are shared amongst all. Many of DSCS’s participants and clients have worked in the home care industry, and we have fought for years to improve worker conditions for caregivers and create alliances with employers. Now, we can continue to improve the industry for workers by starting a business.
The business will be independent of DSCS, and DSCS will continue to offer support in the form of training and technical assistance to the business owners. Stay tuned for updates in the coming months.
The Housing Rights program consists of the Mission SRO Collaborative (MSROC) and Tenant Rights Counseling. The program aims to protect local housing stock, improve living conditions, increase community knowledge of tenant rights, and fight for housing justice.
MSROC is a partnership between Dolores Street Community Services, the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, Lyon-Martin Community Health Services, and the San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition. The collaborative organizes tenants living in SRO (Single Room Occupancy) hotels throughout the Mission District of San Francisco to advocate for safe and dignified housing. Tenants can also be referred to a Tenant Rights Counselor, who can support a range of housing issues and concerns. Counselors meet with tenants to provide information on housing rights, present educational workshops, and advocate with property owners and landlords. The program works to prioritize eviction prevention and to improve housing stability for low-income people living in the Mission.
If you are seeking support related to your housing rights, living conditions, or an eviction, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Housing and shelter placements provided for adults, youth, and families
Deportations prevented for pre-documented immigrants
Living wage jobs secured for low wage workers
Work with Us
Interested in joining our team?
Check out our open positions here.