Mixed Status Family Pursuing the American Dream

A “mixed-status family” is a family whose members include different citizenship or immigration status.  This story is about a mixed-status family, the Rojas-Roldans, who La Raza Centro Legal is assisting in their immigration matters.  The Rojas-Roldan family is comprised of a U.S. citizen child, a Deferred Action recipient adult child, and undocumented parents who are DAPA eligible.  They are the image of what immigrant families look like nowadays.  Furthermore, they are an example of people coming to this country to have a chance to pursue the “American Dream.” As is common with immigrant families, the conditions in one’s home country are not safe and these conditions often force families to flee and find safety in another country.  Whether it was being surrounded by criminal activity, gangs, or drug trafficking, Monica knew it was not a place to raise her family or become productive citizens.  Rather, it had become a place where you were lucky if you could escape harm or, even worse, death. As a result, Monica made the difficult decision to immigrate to the United States from Mexico with her 9 year old son Kevin in 2004.   As with all new arrivals, it was a struggle to live in the United States undocumented.  Not only is it difficult to find housing, but it’s hard to find employment and a school to send your child. At first they lived in Oakland, California, but quickly found a place to stay in San Francisco and made their home in the Tenderloin District.  Soon, Monica and her husband found work and Kevin was in school.  In March 2011, the Rojas-Roldan family grew –...

Together, We Can!

We are committed to using the power of the law to address injustice and solve problems affecting those who lack equal access to the legal system……. Read More “Together, We...

Know Your Rights–Eviction Under “Owner Move In”

Desalojo de inquilinos para que el propietario se mude a la vivienda (Spanish Version) Evicting a Tenant Under “Owner Move In” English Version Evicting a Tenant Under “Owner Move In” There are 16 just causes to evict a tenant in San Francisco. Among them, the “owner move in” or “OMI” is a well-known cause for eviction in San Francisco nowadays. It is defined as an eviction where an owner of a unit who does not own another property in the City seeks to recover possession for himself or relative to move in, “without ulterior motive and with honest intent.” Owners may evict for a family member such as a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or the owner’s spouse or the spouse of such relations. The term “spouse” includes domestic partners. However, owners who evict for family members to move in must already live in the building or be moving into the building at the same time as the relative. In buildings of two or more units, there are several conditions that give a tenant protected status so that he/she cannot be evicted for either the owner or the owner’s relative to move in. If you are 60 years old or older and have lived in the unit for more than 10 years, you are protected.  If you are disabled under the Social Security Disability rules—which consider a person disabled if (a) she/he cannot perform the kind of work that he/she did before, (b) Social Security decides that he/she cannot be adjusted to other work because of his/her medical condition, and (c) her/his disability has lasted or is expected to...

A Dream Come True

Candelario Melendez came to the United States as a political asylee from El Salvador, Central America.  Candelario was born and grew up in the Canton of San Francisco, department of San Vicente, El Salvador.  “Don Cande” as his friends and colleagues lovingly call him has always made it his mission to help people and be of service to the community.  Don Cande took pride in being a community organizer and still does this work today. As the civil war erupted in El Salvador in 1979-1980, Candelario became more involved with his community.  Don Cande worked to help protect his canton from the guerillas and the military that were trying to recruit people to fight for their side.  But after having his house shot, although no one was hurt, he and his family decided to move to a nearby town of Verapaz.  They all believed the town was bigger and safer than his small canton.  But the civil war hostilities increased and Don Cande found himself organizing again to protect the community.  Because of his work he began receiving death threats. In 1986 Don Cande received a threat from the guerillas on his doorstep.  The note stated he was an enemy of the revolution and would be punished by the people unless he stopped working as a community organizer.   Don Cande realized he had to be very careful because his life and that of his family was at risk.  His brother had already been murdered by guerillas when defending his town as a member of a civil defense group.  But this did not stop Don Cande from being of service...

We are committed to protect and provide much needed legal representation to unaccompanied minors and families facing deportation!

Our Immigration Law Program’s new Immigration Law Attorney Mina Litvak with the assistance of law student Legal Intern Alexandra Medina have been working with unaccompanied children and families who recently arrived from Central America and are currently in deportation proceedings.  The courage of the children and families has been tremendous.  One mother fled with her young son whose life had been threatened by gang violence leaving behind her husband and other children.  Under current case law, the gang violence cases are not always considered asylum cases. However, our Immigration Law Program is working to show asylum including showing the entire family is targeted.  Many women fleeing domestic violence have come with their children.  Our Immigration Law Program is representing these women in asylum cases showing the great abuse endured. A 15 year old boy made the journey alone and describes how coyotes threatened him with death if he didn’t pay extra money beyond the agreed amount his parents had paid.  After crossing a river the coyotes left his group and he was forced to run in the desert leading a group of women and children.  Still worse were the cramped conditions he described in the immigration holding facilities.  “We were like 50 people in a room of about two meters wide and four meters long. It was really hard not being able to sleep.”  The greatest challenge has been those children and families whose lives are in danger because they have been threatened to be killed or harmed due to gang violence.  Some of the children who made the journey alone remain alone in the U.S. and some are...

Housing Law Program secures over $100,000 in settlements during the first quarter of the year!

Since December 2014 La Raza Centro Legal’s new Housing Law Program led by attorney Judith Gallardo has assisted dozens of San Francisco residents in need of legal advice regarding their housing rights. Gentrification, the influx of high-income dwellers into low-income neighborhoods, has become a serious cause of concern in San Francisco. Through legal representation, the Housing Law Program prevents low income tenants from becoming homeless. Since December, the Housing Law Program has ensured that numerous families stay in their home. In addition, the program has assisted numerous families settle a reasonable move out date and moving expenses. During the first quarter of the year, the total combined settlement amount for those families is more than $100,000.00. Further, the Housing Law Program has also assisted clients that choose to participate in Buy Out Agreements.  One of our clients is to receive $15,000.00 for his voluntary termination of a rent controlled tenancy. The Housing Law Program will continue to assist and represents low income tenants against eviction, thereby, preventing homelessness. La Raza Centro Legal’s Housing Law Program prides itself in working powerfully with clients to resolve tenant landlord disputes in the most professional and peaceful manner possible to ensure the most effective legal representation...