IMMIGRATION LAW PROGRAM
Since the birth of La Raza over 40 years ago, the agency has operated an Immigration Law Program. Alongside worker’s rights it was one of our first legal programs. Since then our program has expanded to provide direct legal services, including representation at USCIS and Immigration Court and advocacy to low and extremely low income immigrants of the San Francisco Bay Area. This year alone, we ensured assistance to hundreds of individuals seeking immigration relief as well as provided outreach and education so that are community knows their rights. Our focus in the immigration program is to provide accessible legal services with dignity and compassion and thereby increase the stability of immigrants and their families. We do this by providing legal consults, investigating eligibility for relief, assisting in applying for immigration relief, and protecting, defending and advancing the rights of immigrants in our society so that our community is not mistreated, defrauded or scammed by individuals who prey on immigrants and their families.
Our immigration program offers a broad range of legal services. We assist victims of crime and asylum seekers. We also help individuals who are petitioning for family members to this country, applying for legal residency or citizenship, renewing their green card and work permits, seeking Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and fighting deportation. Currently, we are providing additional workshops and one to one service in order to assist youth in filing for legal status under the Deferred Action Executive Order. As immigration filing fees are prohibitively high, we have been successful in filing and having fee waivers approved for our extremely low income clients. We advocate for our clients and guide them within the complicated and challenging bureaucracies of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Immigration court, and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In order to assist immigrants who reside out of the San Francisco and San Mateo County we staff and administer a bi-monthly legal clinic in collaboration with Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights. At our clinic we assist community members from all over Northern California with triage consults over various immigration issues with the help of seasoned immigration volunteer attorneys who staff our clinic. Furthermore we not only screen cases for La Raza to take on but we also have a strong referral system to non-profits and low cost immigration attorneys. Our purpose in providing this service is our attempt to make sure immigrants do not “fall between the cracks” and get lost in the process and ultimately not receive a needed service. When a client walks out of our clinic they are assured two things: they will have a better understanding of their immigration issues and will also have guidance as to who can help them with their matter.
Something unique to the immigration program is that we are a part of several local legal service collaborations. These collaborations strengthen our outreach and education services as well as enhance the legal assistance we are able to provide by providing mentorship and legal expertise to our attorneys. In San Francisco we are a part of a thirteen agency collaboration in San Francisco (SFILEN)—the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network. In San Mateo we are a part of a six agency collaborative in called CRISP (Collaborative Resources for Immigrant Services on the Peninsula). In addition we are part of the Bay Area Deferred Action collaborative (known as BADACA) that focuses on providing assistance to DACA applicants. Lastly, we collaborate with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights to ensure that all those who seek asylum assistance are able to receive a consult and be placed with a pro-bono attorney.
-IMMIGRATION LAW PROGRAM-
-IMMIGRATION LAW PROGRAM-