Trump Administration Refuses to Release Minor from Adult Custody

Sign the petition to release Hamid, our client who is a 17-year-old Afghan child who has been detained in adult ICE detention for 5 months!

Last week, Democracy Now! covered the story of our client "Hamid," who is a 17-year-old Afghan child that has been detained in adult ICE detention for 5 months now. Hamid was initially designated a minor when he arrived at the U.S. border in late 2017, after he walked up to immigration officers and asked for asylum. Hamid was placed in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) -- the agency that handles the care and custody of unaccompanied migrant children -- and lived in a state-licensed group home for other migrant children his own age. Several weeks into Hamid's stay, ORR sent x-rays of Hamid's teeth to Dr. David Senn at the University of Texas to try to determine his age. Dr. Senn never examined Hamid in person and only relied on his dental x-rays to estimate Hamid's age range between 16 and 23 years old, a seven-year span. 

Based on Dr. Senn's faulty dental exam, Hamid was then transferred from ORR custody to adult ICE detention in Bakersfield, CA, where he has been detained for the last 5 months. Meanwhile, Hamid has a family friend in Texas who has offered to support Hamid with housing and financial support, if Hamid is released from ICE custody. Hamid's attorneys have submitted a third parole request to ICE based on additional evidence of support for Hamid's release, but ICE has still not made a decision on the request. Each day that goes by is one more day that Hamid, a minor, sits in adult detention. 

Sign the petition to release Hamid!

Federal District Court’s Order Freeing Floricel Liborio Should Serve as a Lesson to All Immigration Judges Across the U.S.

On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, Pangea client, Floricel Liborio Ramos, was freed from immigration detention after substantial litigation, multiple appeals, and requests for her release. Today, on her first day free after 11 months, Floricel came out to speak in gratitude for the massive community love and support she received throughout her detention. We hope that her case can set a positive example for judges and courts across the United States.  Read the Federal District Court's order here.  

 Community members from Faith in Action, RISE, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, the Immigrant Liberation Movement, and others out in support of Floricel's hearing at the Federal District Court in Northern California (San Francisco, March 13, 2017) 

Community members from Faith in Action, RISE, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, the Immigrant Liberation Movement, and others out in support of Floricel's hearing at the Federal District Court in Northern California (San Francisco, March 13, 2017) 


Federal District Court’s Order Freeing Floricel Liborio Should Serve as a Lesson to All Immigration Judges Across the U.S.

 Immigrant rights activists celebrate the momentous reuniting of Floricel Liborio Ramos with her family after order by United States District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar requiring her release. The order should serve as a lesson to immigration judges that they cannot deny bond to immigrants simply because of a DUI.

WHAT: Press conference in celebration of Floricel’s returning home to her children after over 11 months in immigration custody

WHERE: Phillip Burton Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94111

WHEN: 11:30am on Thursday, March 15, 2018

WHO: Floricel, immigrant rights activists, faith leaders and other supporters 

San Francisco, CA- Immigrant rights activists hold press conference at SF Federal District Court Building welcoming Floricel Liborio Ramos after she was released on Wednesday following a District Court order granting her immediate release from the West County Detention Facility.  Ms. Liborio Ramos detention comes to a celebrated closure after District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar ruled that the Government failed to meet its burden to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that Ms. Liborio Ramos poses a threat to the community.

Judge Tigar found Immigration Judge Burch had erred when she unfairly ruled that Floricel was a danger to the community given her previous DUIs, “The IJ’s decision not to release Liborio Ramos rests firmly on Liborio Ramos’s two DUI convictions.[...] while an immigrant’s criminal history is relevant, ‘criminal history alone will not always be sufficient to justify denial of bond on the basis of dangerousness.’”

"[T]wo non-violent [DUI] misdemeanors in which no one was injured, in light of the other facts in this record, simply do not justify indefinite detention," Judge Tigar's ruling continued. In a few days, Ms. Liborio Ramos would have been detained for nearly a year, more than the longest sentence she could have served under California law for a misdemeanor DUI.

"We’re seeing undocumented immigrants punished twice by the immigration courts," claimed Jehan Laner Romero, Ms. Liborio Ramos' attorney at Pangea Legal Services. "This was the case with Floricel, who was complying with the criminal court order for her prior DUI conviction.”

Community supporters of Ms. Liborio have much to celebrate after 8 months of arduous efforts to support her case by packing the courtroom during her hearings, holding rallies and uplifting their support for Floricel. Immigration Judge Valerie A. Burch had denied her bond on two different occasions, even though the Government failed to sustain its burden to prove Ms. Liborio Ramos was a danger to the community. To many, this only highlights the unjust practices of some immigration courts — and the importance of higher courts and community members to hold immigration judges accountable. "An immigration court should not serve to merely justify an immigrant's deportation, but rather it should be there to serve justice," said Blanca Vazquez, one of the organizers supporting Ms. Liborio Ramos' case with the Immigrant Liberation Movement. "We hope Floricel's case serves as a lesson for all immigration judges across the United States." 


 Floricel speaks at press conference before the court that ordered her release (San Francisco, March 15, 2018)

Floricel speaks at press conference before the court that ordered her release (San Francisco, March 15, 2018)


4th of July Celebration Ends in Possible Deportation of DACA Recipient

Case Underscores Troubling Trend: Trump Administration Making False Accusations to Target DACA Recipients

California-- A recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Rodrigo Farfan, was released on June 27th from the Mesa Verde Detention Center after a campaign by community members calling on ICE to release him. ICE officials detained Rodrigo on June 15th, the same day the Trump administration announced it would continue the program created by the Obama administration in 2012.

Rodrigo, now 22, has lived in California since immigrating here with his family, from Bolivia, in 2001. He had previously twice renewed his DACA, most recently in 2016, and has a valid work permit through October 2018. Ironically, though the United States is the only country Rodrigo has known, he is facing deportation for celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks.

“I love this country. I have had my DACA renewed and I just didn’t think stuff like this happened to immigrants like me, and in California of all states. I don’t want to be deported, especially not for celebrating the 4th of July and the freedom that this country represents to me,” Rodrigo said from detention.

Last Fourth of July, despite his neighbors also setting off fireworks, police officers singled out Rodrigo and cited him for using fireworks. Several months later, local authorities charged him with a misdemeanor; he plead guilty and paid a $415 fine on June 12 of this year. Just three days later, ICE agents stalked Rodrigo outside his house and arrested him when he left for work. “We love Rodrigo and our whole family is devastated that he is facing deportation for something like this” says Fabiana, Rodrigo’s older sister, “he is the breadwinner of our family,”

Additionally, suggesting a troubling trend, ICE officials started spreading false statements about Rodrigo shortly after receiving inquiries from the media about his case. Echoing the wrongful accusations ICE leveled against a Seattle DACA recipient whom a judge ultimately released, ICE officials are making false and unsubstantiated claims of gang affiliation. The Trump administration’s preference for alternative facts is embedded in the exploitation of racial stereotypes to criminalize DACA recipients like Rodrigo and advance a xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda.

Rodrigo was released on June 27th on an Order of Recognizance and his Notice to Appear was canceled. “The actions of the Trump administration have resulted in Rodrigo’s DACA to be terminated. He was released, but only after his deportation proceedings resulted in his losing his DACA status.” Niloufar Khonsari “The Trump administration can right this wrong by giving Rodrigo his DACA back, unless the real message here is that DACA recipients are no longer safe under the Trump administration.”



Yazmin Elias’ Case Highlights the Myth of Sanctuary for Immigrants Convicted of Crimes

For immediate release: May 19, 2017

Contact: Pangea Legal Services (415) 254-0475


After 15 months in immigration detention, Yazmin was only released after a Habeas petition

San Francisco, CA-- For many immigrants like Yazmin Elias, a client of Pangea Legal Services, California has failed them. The state has instituted a great number of policies to protect immigrants, yet everyday people like Yazmin fall through the cracks and end up in indefinite detention, at the hands of federal officials who have no interest in seeing them as human beings, capable of making mistakes, learning from them and becoming better people.

“Yazmin was convicted of 3 DUI’s, but was eventually, identified by a specialized DUI court as a victim of 20 years of domestic violence who deserved rehab and treatment, not incarceration,” said Luis Angel Reyes Savalza, one of Yazmin’s attorneys at Pangea Legal Services. “After completing 3-months of in-patient rehabilitation, and while enrolled in outpatient therapy, Yazmin was picked up by ICE after a court hearing in Sonoma County. Yazmin spent 15 months in immigration detention - 100 times longer than she ever had to serve for her past record - and for a charge that had already been resolved through rehabilitation by a specialized DUI court. She was only released after a Federal District Court issued an opinion that left the Immigration Judge with few options but to grant bond.”

Despite being a ‘sanctuary state,’ immigrants like Yazmin are routinely turned over to immigration officials who then punish them again for crimes they have already paid a price for. “In this case, after having been denied a bond three times by an immigration judge, Yazmin was released only after a Habeas petition we filed resulted in a strongly worded opinion by the Federal District Court,” said Etan Newman, another of Yazmin’s attorneys at Pangea Legal Services. "The District Court judge pretty much stated what we had been arguing for months, that the immigration court could not say our client was dangerous when the specialized DUI court had already said she was not.”

Yazmin’s immigration judge relented on May 11th by finally granting a bond of $25,000. Yazmin was released on May 15th, only after her community was able to raise the funds to post the immigration bond. “Yazmin, and others like her, are finding themselves serving indefinite years-long sentences through our immigration system simply because our State continues to cooperate with ICE agents,” said Reyes Savalza.

Pangea is committed to continuing to file Habeas petitions for clients just like Yazmin. “What the government has made clear to us is that they will only respect the rights of immigrants when we hold them accountable, and if that means filing a habeas petition for every wrongly detained family, that’s what we’re prepared to do,” said Newman.

What: Yazmin Elias to join community rally

When: Friday May 19th, at 11:00AM

Where: Women’s Building, 3583 18th St. San Francisco, Ca 94110




7 Ways You Can Stand with Our Immigrant Community

7 Ways You Can Stand with Our Immigrant Community

Looking for ways to support the immigrant community? We’ve compiled a list of 7 ways YOU can make a difference!


1.     Become a Migra Watch Observer & ICE Raids Responder: Volunteer your time to document and monitor ICE officials during immigration raids in real-time.    

●      Interest form: Once filled out, you will receive emails informing you about upcoming Migra Watch trainings.

2.     Volunteer with Pangea – We are currently looking for Spanish to English translators. This is a remote position for those looking to make an impact!

●      How To Apply: If you think you are a good fit, please apply!  

3.     Take Action: Attending protests and rallies shows that our community is strong, united, and powerful. We will not sit idly by while our people are experiencing mistreatment by the new administration.

●      Bay Area Resistance & Rapid Response: Receive updates for actions in the Bay Area about immigration and other resistance efforts.

●      FreeSF: Upcoming events in San Francisco

4.     Make your voice heard: Call your representatives and speak up about policies that are important to you and directly impact our community.

● Makes calling your legislator easy and effective! Research and a script is already provided for you.

5.     Boycott Trump: A small step, like boycotting business that support the new administration, can have great impact if we act collectively.

●      List of companies doing business with the Trump family – how to contact companies and demand action.

6.     Get Informed: Keeping yourself informed is vital to monitoring and responding to xenophobic policies. Being an ally means educating yourself about the issues of the communities you support. 

●      FreeSF: Immigrant policies in San Francisco

●      California Immigrant Policy Center: Current Immigration policies in California

●      National Immigration Law Center: Information about Civil Rights in ICE Encounters

7.     Donate: If you can, contribute to Pangea Legal Services to enable us to actively work alongside the immigrant community for dignity and freedom to move for all.

●      Donate and Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter to stay in touch!

Sign Petition to #FreeYazmin!

Yazmin Liliana Elias Obregon (A: 076-373-569), a single mother of three U.S. citizen children, has been detained at West County Detention Center in Richmond, California for over a year. Yazmin came to the U.S. at the age of 4 and lived in Santa Rosa, California. When she was 14 years old, Yazmin entered an abusive relationship with a man who would become the father of her children. He abused her for nearly 10 years: he beat her, sexually abused her, and forced her to use drugs in an attempt to cause her to abort her pregnancies. Her ex-partner, now in Mexico, has continued to threaten Yazmin. If deported to Mexico, Yazmin fears persecution by her former partner. Yazmin also suffered abuse from a subsequent partner who physically and sexually abused her. She has a U visa pending as a result.

Yazmin was apprehended by ICE after being convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol. As a long-time survivor of severe physical violence, Yazmin coped by self-medicating her trauma. Yazmin sincerely regrets the mistakes she’s made and has taken steps to rehabilitate. Yazmin’s children motivate her to recover and become a stronger mother in order to provide for her children. Yazmin completed a 3-month inpatient program to treat her alcohol and trauma and was continuing an outpatient 6-month program when ICE detained her.

Detained, Yazmin hired an attorney, Richard L. Bobus. Mr. Bobus took advantage of Yazmin and cheated her out of $3,250, prolonged her detention, and did not do any work in her case. Mr. Bobus was unprepared at Yazmin’s immigration hearings, submitted no evidence in support of her case despite instructions by the immigration judge to do so, and failed to apply for Yazmin’s U visa and asylum applications despite her eligibility.

Prior to being detained, Yazmin was well underway to building a new life for herself and her three U.S. citizen children. She was working two jobs to support her children and was finding community at a church. Her three children- Jeremiah, Isaiah and Elijah – suffer from PTSD, ADHD, and depression. After years of improvement thanks to their treatment, Yazmin’s children are now regressing due to their suffering from their mother’s detention.

“Since my mom got detained, I have been feeling sad and it’s hard for me to focus on school. I really need for my mom to come back. Adults think I need medicine, counselors, social workers, but all I need right now is my mom.” – Yazmin’s youngest son, age 12


Community Defense Workshop!

Community Defense Workshop!

Are you undocumented? Want to know what to do in case of a raid?

Join us to learn about deportation prevention & preparation tools like:

  1. In depth practice of Know Your Rights strategies
  2. Family Preparedness Preparation
  3. Access to our Migra Watch Hotline

To RSVP, send an email to Yadira Sanchez: Limited seating is available.

Hosted by the Immigrant Liberation Movement: CIYJA, EBIYC, Faith in Action/PICO California, & Pangea Legal Services

Es usted indocumentado? Quiere saber que hacer en caso de una redada? 

Acompanamos para aprender sobre herramientas de prevencion y preparacion contra deportaciones comoe:

  1. Practica de estrategias de conoce tus derechos
  2. Preparacion de Plan Familiar
  3. Accesso a nuestra linea de respuesta rapida Migra Watch

Para registrarse, mande un mensaje a Yadira Sanchez: Hay asientos limitados.

Patrocinado por el Movimiento de Liberacion del inmigrante: CIYJA, EBIYC, Faith in Action/PICO California, y Pangea Servicios Legales

Resisting Mass Deportation - A Community Forum

Resisting Mass Deportation - A Community Forum

No Family should be torn apart because they can't afford an attorney. Join us & learn how San Francisco can provide lawyers to help immigrants fight deportation and how YOU can help!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

5pm- 7:30pm

Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library - 100 Larkin St. (enter at 30 Grove Street), SF, CA



Sponsors: San Francisco Public Defender's Office, Pangea Legal Services, La Raza Centro Legal, Tahirih Justice Center, Asian Law Caucus, CARECEN, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Bar Association of San Francisco, Legal Services for Children, African Advocacy Network, Dolores Street Community Services

Vigil urges ICE to free detained mom ripped from children as Christmas approaches

Media Advisory for: Thurs, Dec 22, 6:00 PM

Case of mom, a survivor of domestic violence, highlights humanity of detained immigrants, underscores need for state legislation

 Previous rally for Yazmin (San Francisco, Nov. 10, 2016)

Previous rally for Yazmin (San Francisco, Nov. 10, 2016)

What: Dozens of local immigrant rights leaders and advocates against domestic violence will stage a holiday vigil urging the release of domestic violence survivor Yazmin Elias, a 34-year-old resident of Santa Rosa who has been separated from her three US citizen children for 10 months. During the rally, advocates will unveil letter to Department of Homeland Security Chief Counsel which rebukes the courtroom conduct of a DHS attorney who re-victimized Yazmin on the stand last month.

When: Thursday, December 22rd, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Where: Immigration Customs Enforcement Field Office, 630 Sansome Street. San Francisco, CA

Who: Yazmin Elias’ family, local immigrants rights leaders and advocates against domestic violence.

Visuals: Rally Participants will display poster images of Yazmin that read “#FreeYazmin” and banners displaying #FreeYazmin will be presented.

San Francisco, CA-The story of Yazmin, a single mother of three US citizen children and a domestic violence survivor, highlights the humanity of community members who have received convictions and have been targeted for deportation. As we approach the holiday season Yazmin’s sons will spend another holiday apart from their mother. With Trump about to take over and expand the Obama administration’s painful deportation machinery, community groups are fighting to defend people like Yazmin - and point to new legislation in Sacramento that would uphold due process and protect against abuses.  

Yazmin’s story: Yazmin has been in ICE custody for the past 10 months separated from her three children: Elijah-17, Isaiah-14 and Jeremiah- 13 who are suffering from depression, PTSD and ADHD. From a young age Yazmin endured constant physical violence, dating back to her childhood, and her prime coping mechanism to survive her trauma has been self-medication. On August 2015, Yazmin was cited for driving under the influence of alcohol. Since then, Yazmin has completed a 3-month residential program where she learned to rehabilitate. Yazmin is applying for asylum and a U visa which would enable her to truly recover from over 10 years of abuse; her current detention is re-traumatizing her and preventing her from recovering.

Courtroom controversy. On November 10, 2016 community advocates, and social workers were shocked to witness the blame-the-victim narrative that a DHS attorney pursued during Yamin’ bond hearing. As a result, community advocates against domestic violence and immigrants rights leaders are also delivering a letter to DHS Chief Counsel Ms. Leslie Ungerman. Advocates hope to address the re-traumatizing experience Yazmin had to undergo through the inhumane court process and request Yazmin’s reunification with her children for Christmas.

The need for state legislation. Yazmin’s experiences also highlight the importance of key bills moving forward in Sacramento that uphold the values of due process and inclusion. The local jail turned her over to ICE for deportation; SB 54, the CA Values Act, would make sure local resources aren't used to fuel the deportation of people like Yazmin and countless others at risk from Trump’s threats.

Yazmin’s story exemplifies the ongoing criminalization of domestic violence survivors who need rehabilitation, not incarceration. In the face of a new administration community members will stand united for immigrant justice and for the prompt liberation of loved ones who have been torn apart from their families.