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Mayor Lee Launches the Equity and Immigrant Services Campaign

Mayor to allocate additional funds to expand education, outreach, and provide multilingual legal services to individuals and families

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced with community-based organizations, the Human Rights Commission, and the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigration Affairs the launch of the Equity and Immigrant Services Campaign, a multi-pronged effort for the continued support of immigration legal services.

This year, Mayor Lee dedicated $3.8 million to serve the legal needs of the City’s immigrant community. Following the presidential election, Mayor Lee met with many of the community-based organizations that serve San Francisco’s immigrants and heard the concerns and needs for more resources. These community-based organizations are the gateway for many families to get the services they need such as, legal representation, health care, and education. Subsequently, Mayor Lee moved forward with dedicating an additional $1.5 million on top of the $3.8 million already funded to expand and bolster immigration-related legal services in fiscal year 2016-2017. In total, Mayor Lee has pledged nearly 14 million dollars for immigration-related services over the next two years and has committed to increasing those funds if needed.

“San Francisco is a Sanctuary City and will not waiver in its commitment to protect the rights of all its residents,” said Mayor Lee. “This year’s 1.5 million dollars will be critical in expanding and bolstering the services our community-based organizations provide to support and protect our immigrant families.”

As part of Mayor Lee’s ongoing strategy to protect the rights of our City’s immigrant communities, city departments will partner with community-based organizations such as the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Education Network (SFILEN) and The San Francisco Immigration Legal Defense Collaborative (SFILDC) to expand education, outreach, and provide multilingual legal services, full scope representation for detained and non-detained clients and assessment, as well as fee-waiver and loan assistance for mix-status families and individuals seeking naturalization. This partnership will provide services in more than 20 languages and dialects and represent a diverse set of cultural experts who can serve a broad range of ethnic and linguistic enclaves in San Francisco.

“We are proud of San Francisco today, of our local community advocates, our Mayor and elected officials for standing by the immigrant community and our city's values. This investment will allow us to ramp up existing services and systems of protection while also empowering our migrant community with the affirmation that San Francisco is a Sanctuary City and a city for all,” said Lariza Dugan Cuadra, Executive Director of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). The Central American Resource Center will be the fiscal lead for the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative that will be funded by this effort to hire additional immigration attorneys.

Mayor Lee was joined by members of the San Francisco Unified School District, the San Francisco Public Health Department and several community-based organizations representing the spectrum of cultures living and working in San Francisco. Also in attendance was Mr. Hung Wai, a Chinese-speaking citizen who benefited from naturalization services and Ms. Yulissa Tula, a Spanish-speaking citizen who benefited from legal defense services. Both Mr. Wai and Ms. Tula shared their stories with the Mayor and were thankful for the services that were offered by the City.

Dr. Suzanne Barakat, a Family Medicine Resident at UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital, lost her brother and sister in law, and sister in a hate crime in North Carolina in 2015. Dr. Barakat was able to connect with hate crime outreach services to help her following her loss. A provider of services to low-income women in the city herself, Dr. Barakat was thankful for the City’s ability to be available and accessible to her in her time of need.

Mayor Lee thanked the community-based organizations for their dedication and relentless work to ensure that the our city’s immigrant communities receive legal representation in San Francisco’s Immigration Courts, are able to enroll in school and obtain critical social services.

For information on Immigration Services:

information on Immigration Services