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.”

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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

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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.

●      5calls.org: 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

SIGN THE PETITION TO TELL THE SAN FRANCISCO ICE FIELD OFFICE and THE OFFICE OF CHIEF COUNSEL THAT YAZMIN DESERVES AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE A STABLE LIFE FOR HER THREE U.S. CITIZEN CHILDREN

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: ysanchez@ciyja.org. 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: ysanchez@ciyja.org. 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

FREE EVENT

 

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.

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Pangea Paves Response with Community Organizations, Public Defender, and Sup. Campos

Please join the community as we propose a plan to respond to the attack on immigrants. San Francisco to introduce a program for access to counsel, education, and outreach for immigrants.

Where: Steps of City Hall, San Francisco

When: Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 

Time: 12pm 

Who: Pangea Legal Services, Dolores Street Community Services, SF Public Defender, Supervisor David Campos, Supervisor John Avalos, Impacted Community Members

SF Chronicle Op-Ed on Ending Deportations by Pangea Executive Director, Niloufar Khonsari

Available here: http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/It-will-take-a-village-to-end-deportations-10629264.php

It will take a village to end deportations

Niloufar Khonsari, November 21, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to detain and deport millions of immigrant families. Yet the United States has already hit record numbers of detentions and deportations in the past few years. In California, there is a growing movement to create access to legal counsel for immigrants in detention. However, legal advocacy in the courtroom is not sufficient. Trump’s election underscores the fact that our strategy must extend beyond the courtroom and include politically empowering our clients and their families. Immigration attorneys like myself must actively connect our work with grassroots groups, public campaigns and community organizing. 

Take the case of my former client Jesus Ruiz Diego. His parents brought him to the United States when he was 4 years old. When Diego was 11, a judge ordered him and his family deported.

Diego had no idea. He grew up attending elementary, middle and high school in San Jose. Based on that decade-old order, immigration officials raided Diego’s house when he was 22 and deported him from the country. 

They tried to deport him a second time after he returned, and Diego was detained. The legal scenario for him was grim. But thanks to grassroots advocacy, including thousands of petition signatures, vocal support from undocumented immigrants, multiple rallies, media campaigns and outreach to legislators, Diego was liberated from detention and later obtained relief from deportation. 

This experience transformed Diego — a former sheet-metal worker — into a community organizer. The key in Diego’s case was not only winning his legal case, but also building political consciousness and connecting him to a long-term political movement.

We need to build community-led deportation defense models that place directly affected communities at the center of their self-defense and advocacy. 

California already has programs that provide representation to immigrants who are not detained but are in removal proceedings in the immigration court. Efforts to create representation programs for immigrants in detention are also emerging in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles and statewide.

California’s new programs could be modeled on the successful New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, the first comprehensive program in the country to provide free legal representation to detained immigrants. However, as we build models in California, especially for detained immigrants, we must never lose sight of our goal to end deportations altogether. We need to work with grassroots partners, directly mobilize and work toward the endgame.

Time is of the essence. Attorneys must start connecting their work and clients to a broader movement against detention and deportation. And those of us concerned about Trump’s assault on the most vulnerable must take part in this movement by showing up. 

We must sign petitions, donate what we can and show up to the very rallies that helped keep Diego in this country. Together, we must organize, mobilize and protest detentions and deportations. 

Niloufar Khonsari is an immigration attorney and executive director of Pangea Legal Services, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties.

Media Advisory: Local Immigrants Respond to Trump Victory by Ascending Vigorously Against Mass Deportation

Media Advisory: Local Immigrants Respond to Trump Victory by Ascending Vigorously Against Mass Deportation

Immigrants Pack Courtroom Demanding Release of Domestic Violence Survivor and Asylum Seeker Facing Deportation

Contact: Blanca Vazquez blanca@theiyc.org (916)225-1664, Luis Angel Reyes Savalza, Pangea Legal Services (415)254-0475

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What: Dozens of local  immigrant rights leaders  and advocates against domestic violence come together to support immigrant mother, Yazmin Elias, facing deportation with press conference in response to contentious presidential election where Trump is elected President.

When: Thursday November 10th at 11:30am

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

Who: Yazmin Elias’ family, local immigrants rights leaders and advocates against domestic violence including Immigrant Youth Coalition, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, and Pangea Legal Services.

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

San Francisco, CA- Local immigrants rights activists vigorously rally against family separation and deportation after Trump is elected President, a man who has vowed to massively deport immigrants. Community advocates against domestic violence and immigrants rights leaders are also packing local immigration courtroom to show support for Yazmin Liliana Elias in her last bond hearing in immigration court. Yazmin is a single mother of three US citizen children and a domestic violence survivor. She has been in ICE custody for the past 9 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 has began to break the cycle of violence, but instead of allowing her to rehabilitate, ICE has detained her and placed her in deportation proceedings. 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.

Yazmin exemplifies the ongoing criminalization of domestic violence survivors who need rehabilitation, not incarceration. Her current detention is a testament to the inflexibility of the immigration system to address the needs of those who have suffered emotional and physical abuse. Furthermore, her story is a prime example of the threat millions of immigrant communities have faced for years and the rise of Trump as president only entails the rise of  the power immigrant communities hold to continue resisting to exist.

From Immigration Detention to Asylum Proceedings in the San Francisco Immigration Court

From Immigration Detention to Asylum Proceedings in the San Francisco Immigration Court

In order to escape severe violence and possible death in Guatemala, Roxana had to leave her little daughter behind.  Upon arrival in the United States, she was first held in a hielera and then in immigration detention for three months.  Now, even with the help of her attorney, and moving her case along as quickly as possible, Roxana will have to wait over three years for a chance to present her asylum case in immigration court. Watch the video above to get a glimpse of what an asylum seeker in immigration court proceedings goes through.

USCIS: Grant Lizbeth Mateo DACA!

USCIS: Grant Lizbeth Mateo DACA!

Academic, community leaders speak out

What: News conference to urge the Obama administration to grant DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to immigrant rights activist Lizbeth Mateo.  Lizbeth grew up in Los Angeles as has played a pivotal role in the fight for immigrant rights over the last decade. Ironically, the Obama administration is seeking to deny her some of the very protections she helped to create, but Mateo and supporters are determined not to be intimidated or silenced.

Department of Homeland Security officials recently issued Lizbeth a second tentative denial of DACA based on a brief absence from the US in 2013, despite their clear discretion. Mateo's attorney, Luis Angel Reyes Savalza of San Francisco-based Pangea Legal Services, who is himself a recipient of DACA, filed an appeal Tuesday. Meanwhile, last week, in a similar case, an immigrant youth leader in Chicago won DACA after suing the federal government for retaliation. 

A petition in support of Lizbeth has picked up 2,200 signatures in just over a week,  over 200 academic professionals and attorneys have signed a letter asking USCIS to exercise discretion, and Members of Congress have written letters of support for Lizbeth. 

When: 12:00 PM, Monday, October 17

Where: UCLA Downtown Labor Center, 675 S Park View St, Los Angeles

Who: Speakers include

  • Lizbeth Mateo
  • Kent Wong, Director of the UCLA Labor Center
  • Yolozee Odilia Romero Xhogosh, Vice General Coordinator Frente Indgena de Organizaciones Binacionales (FIOB) 
  • Chris Newman, Legal Director, National Day Labor Organizing Network 

Media visuals: supporters will host a national call-in day to DHS - images of activists making phone calls

Lizbeth's activism has helped break barriers and expose the injustices that millions of families divided by harsh immigration policies have suffered. Her activism  was central to the implementation of DACA in 2012. In July 2013, she briefly traveled to Mexico to visit her ailing grandfather. Two weeks later, she returned to the U.S. with eight other immigrant youth leaders, together known as the "Dream 9" or the "bring them home" campaign. In a historic and ground-breaking action, the group turned themselves in to border patrol and were later freed. The "bring them home" campaign was a catalyst for DAPA. Later that year, Lizbeth entered law school at Santa Clara University. She then played a crucial role in securing the passage of California's AB 60, which has allowed nearly 800,000 undocumented Californians to become licensed drivers. 

Additional background: Lizbeth moved to the United States with her family when she was 14 years old and grew up in the Los Angeles area. The first in her family to graduate high school and attend college, Lizbeth became involved in the immigrant youth movement in 2003. She helped lead the fight for the federal Dream Act, organizing thousands of undocumented immigrant youth, advocating with legislators, and co-founding the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. 

Lizbeth's visit to Mexico came after both of her paternal grandparents had died. Like millions of immigrants, she endured the heartbreaking experience of missing her grandparents' funerals. She was determined to see her other loved ones before they passed away as well. Lizbeth's visit to Mexico was also part of the first transnational campaign to reunite deported immigrant youth and families with their loved ones in the US.

Lizbeth graduated from Santa Clara University in May with several awards and honors and returned to Los Angeles. She will take the California Bar exam in February [Clarification].  While US Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS), a branch of DHS, has cited Lizbeth's 13-day visit to Mexico as the reason for intending to deny her DACA, the fact is the agency has used its discretion to approve many cases involving a departure or other issues.  With DACA, Lizbeth would be able to more fully make use of her law degree and serve the community. 

Ensuring DACA's most equitable implementation is an important part of the fight for immigrant rights, hand-in-hand with calls for the President to halt deportations entirely. 

Join Us & Celebrate Our New Space!

Pangea is excited to share that we have moved into a bigger San Francisco office space to better serve our community! We look forward to continuing our work with you in the movement to stop deportations and detentions and would love to share our new space with you at our Office Warming Party!

DATE: Oct. 12 @ | TIME: 4pm -7pm| PLACE: 350 Sansome St, Ste 650, San Francisco

Please RSVP through our Eventbrite link: http://tinyurl.com/z7kb3s4

Join us for Progressive Law Day!

Join the many progressive law panels, including our discussion on the links between radical immigration lawyering and the prison abolition movement at this year’s Progressive Law Day at UC Berkeley on Saturday, October 8th at 10am!

Together with Legal Services for Children, TGI Justice Project, and Oakland Law Collaborative, Pangea Legal Services will explore pressing issues at the intersection of immigration law, criminal defense, and the prison abolition movement. The panel will share examples of radical representation strategies for some of the most vulnerable and at risk populations in the country: children and adults in immigration detention.

RAZING THE BAR:

A Gathering of Future Movement Lawyers & Legal Workers

UC Berkeley

Saturday | October 8th @ 9:30-6pm

Progressive Law Day (PLD) is a day-long conference, organized and led by law student members of the National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF), and open to legal workers, lawyers, activists, and anyone interested in learning about radical lawyering and legal work. The day will feature panels on immigration, poverty law, prisoner rights, and more! This is a great opportunity to connect with future legal advocates from all across the Bay Area.

Please RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/1593860764251738

Pangea Board Member, Elaine Orr, Featured as "Top 30 Altruistic Investors Serving Public Good" in TrustedInsight

Pangea Board Member, Elaine Orr, Featured as "Top 30 Altruistic Investors Serving Public Good" in TrustedInsight

Pangea board member, Elaine Orr, is the Director of Investments at Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) was on the list of top 30 foundation rising stars last month!  In an exclusive interview and on the cover of TrustedInsight, Elaine states about Pangea, "I'm supporting work in immigrant rights, particularly for deportation defense... Mobility is a right.  It's a privilege to direct my energy to such a personal interest area, being an immigrant myself." At SVCF, Elaine supports the investment committee and Board in the stewardship of SVCF's charitable capital.  She partners with donors, nonprofits and their investment advisors in framing investment policies and implementing asset allocation to manage risk, return, as well as social impact.  She leads the management and oversight of individually managed fund programs.  Previously, she spent 15 years in portfolio strategy and client relationship roles at BlackRock.  She is a Chartered Financial Analyst, and has a B.Comm in Finance from The University of British Columbia.  She is a board member of Pangea Legal Services, and supports immigrants in the area of deportation defense.

Will Obama admin deny DACA to undocumented law school grad whose activism made history?

As immigrant rights leader Lizbeth Mateo studies for bar exam, law faculty urge DHS to grant protection

Media advisory for: Wed., June 29, 11:00 AM

Contact: Luis Angel Reyes Savalza, Pangea Legal Services, 415-635-4931

Mateo played major role in winning DACA, drivers' licenses, and DAPA through the "Bring them home" campaign

What: News conference calling upon the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grant Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to Lizbeth Mateo, an immigrant rights activist who graduated from Santa Clara University Law School earlier this month and is currently studying for the California Bar Exam. DHS officials have issued Lizbeth a tentative denial based on a brief absence from the US in 2013, despite their clear discretion to approve DACA in such cases. Her appeal is due this Wednesday.

Despite last week's Supreme Court "tie" freezing new deportation relief programs, the original DACA program remains in full effect. Ensuring DACA's most equitable implementation is an important part of the fight for immigrant rights, hand-in-hand with calls for the President to halt deportations entirely. Concerns about DHS retaliation against an activist in Chicago who was denied a DACA renewal sparked a lawsuit last month. 

Lizbeth's activism has helped break barriers and expose the injustices that millions of families divided by harsh immigration policies have suffered. Her decade-long activism for immigrant rights was central to the implementation of DACA in 2012. In July 2013, she briefly traveled to Mexico to visit her ailing grandfather. Two weeks later, she returned to the U.S. with eight other immigrant youth leaders, together known as the "Dream 9" or the "bring them home" campaign. In a historic and ground-breaking action, the group turned themselves in to border patrol and were later freed. The "bring them home" campaign was a catalyst for DAPA. Later that year, Lizbeth entered law school at Santa Clara University. She then played a crucial role in securing the passage of California's AB 60, which has allowed over 700,000 undocumented Californians to become licensed drivers. 

When: 11:00 AM, Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Where: In front of Heafey Law Library, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053

Who: Speakers to include:

  • Lizbeth Mateo 
  • Professor Pratheepan Gulasekaram, immigration expert
  • Professor Michelle Oberman
  • Luis Angel Reyes Savalza, Pangea Legal Service - Lizbeth's attorney, who is himself a DACA recipient

BackgroundLizbeth moved to the United States with her family when she was 14 years old and grew up in the Los Angeles area. The first in her family to graduate high school and attend college, Lizbeth became involved in the immigrant youth movement in 2003. She helped lead the fight for the federal Dream Act, organizing thousands of undocumented immigrant youth, advocating with legislators, and co-founding the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. 

Lizbeth's visit to Mexico came after both of her paternal grandparents had died. Like millions of immigrants, she endured the heartbreaking experience of missing her grandparents' funerals. She was determined to see her other loved ones before they passed away as well. During her visit, she escaped an assault by the police, who yelled at her and called her a foreigner. Her participation in the Dream 9 highlighted the hidden realities that so many immigrants face.

After her release, Lizbeth started law school at Santa Clara University. She graduated last month with several awards and honors and is preparing to take the California bar exam in July.  While US Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS), a branch of DHS, has cited Lizbeth's 13-day visit to Mexico as the reason for intending to deny her DACA, the fact is the agency has used its discretion to approve many cases involving a departure or other issues.  With DACA, Lizbeth would be able to more fully make use of her law degree and serve the community. 

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Groups Call for Lawyers for California’s Detained Immigrants

Media Contact: 

Marie Condron, 213-925-9605, mcondron@publiccounsel.org

Guillermo Torres (Spanish Language Media), 323-228-2753, gtorres@cluejustice.org

Tony Marcano, 213-977-5242, tmarcano@aclusocal.org  

                                                                                                                                     

As DHS Threatens New Raids, Coalition Urges Universal

Legal Representation for Detained Immigrants in California

Report highlights dramatic impact of lawyers for detained immigrants and calls for expansion of NYC’s groundbreaking model of universal representation

LOS ANGELES, CA – Immigrants detained in California who have an attorney succeed in their cases more than five times as often as those who don’t, according to a new study released today, June 8, 2016.

Pangea clients, community members, faith, and other advocates ask for family reunification in front of ICE, San Francisco (2014). 

Pangea clients, community members, faith, and other advocates ask for family reunification in front of ICE, San Francisco (2014). 

The study also found that nearly 70 percent of those who are detained go unrepresented in their deportation cases, often because they cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Unlike criminal defendants, immigrants are not entitled to court appointed attorneys even though a deportation order can often result in life or death consequences for those forced to return to countries beset by drug cartels and gang violence.

The study, authored by the newly formed California Coalition for Universal Representation, coincides with a campaign to urge California’s state and local governments to create publicly-funded programs to provide counsel to detained immigrants in deportation proceedings who cannot otherwise afford an attorney. The proposal follows the example of New York City, which instituted such a program beginning with a pilot in 2013 and expanding to full coverage the following year. The campaign will kick off with a public event at Loyola Law School, today at 6-8 p.m, featuring a panel of guest speakers, including community members directly affected by detention.

“The stakes of these proceedings can be literally life and death. In the face of DHS’s threatened raids, and as thousands seek refuge from Central America’s violence, legal representation is more crucial than ever,” said Caitlin Bellis, Attorney and Liman Fellow at Public Counsel.

The tragic case of Erick Naum Castro Peña illustrates the potential consequences of immigration proceedings. Erick fled Honduras after gang members murdered his father, a human rights activist. After seeking asylum in the United States, Erick spent 11 months detained, never met a lawyer, and was ultimately deported back to Honduras, where he was murdered soon after by the same gangs who killed his father and threatened him. “I want justice for my son,” says his mother, Clara Lilian Peña, a San Fernando Valley resident, “and I do not want anyone else to have to suffer what he suffered for seeking sanctuary.” 

In addition to the risks faced by asylum seekers, the new report shows that thousands of California children are at risk of being placed in foster care upon the detention or deportation of a parent; many others endure trauma with long-term health consequences, leading to poorer educational and health outcomes.  Moreover, immigration-related arrests cause household income to fall to half on average, and leave many households without anyone earning wages. As a result, loved ones go hungry and struggle to remain in their homes. 

“Deportations are dividing families and destroying communities. Too often people are at a loss to navigate a system which often confounds even the experts,” said Emi MacLean, Attorney at National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “Providing counsel will alleviate human suffering, keep California children out of foster care, and improve health and educational outcomes.” 

“The reports are in from New York City’s program, and they’re clear:  universal representation is a dramatic success,” said Stacey Strongarone, Deputy Director of the Center on Immigration and Justice of the Vera Institute of Justice, which administers the New York program.

“The federal government will not act, but California can follow New York City’s example and provide counsel to all detained immigrants who cannot afford a lawyer,” concluded Shiu-Ming Cheer, Senior Staff Attorney and Field Coordinator for the National Immigration Law Center.

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The California Coalition for Universal Representation includes the American Civil Liberties Union of California, the Central American Resource Center, the California Immigrant Policy Center, the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, the Center for Popular Democracy, Centro Legal de la Raza, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the Immigrant Youth Coalition, Interfaith Communities for Peace and Justice, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the National Immigration Law Center, Pangea Legal Services, Public Counsel, the Stanford Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, and the Vera Institute of Justice.

 

Pangea Executive Director FEATURED as Rising Star

Pangea founder and executive director, Niloufar Khonsari, is featured as a rising star in Ozy Magazine.  See the full article and video here.

"Most of Pangea’s clients are from Latin America, and they find their way to the office only after being threatened with deportation, so this is not a group that benefits from sympathy; in 2014, almost 316,000 undocumented immigrants were deported. Clients who do win asylum are put on a path to citizenship and given a work visa. What makes Khonsari so good is that she can navigate the politics. She’s been known to take clients to meet with lawmakers, and in the courtroom, she sticks around after decisions to ask for feedback from judges and prosecutors. What swayed their decision? What could she do differently? It may be classic Sun Tzu, but it works. She’s kind to her core, but at the same time she has guts, says Francisco Ugarte, an immigration attorney with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office."  

 

Join us on May Day this Sunday!

On May 1, 2006, an unprecedented event unfolded across the country. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their allies rallied, taking to the streets and lifting their voices.  What began as a targeted response to punitive legislation that would criminalize immigrants, quickly evolved into a large-scale movement for social change and immigration reform.  Almost ten years later, the movement continues to grow stronger in light of mass deportations, delays in administrative relief for parents, and incendiary rhetoric from presidential candidates.

This  May  Day,  Pangea  is  excited  to  join thousands - and hopefully millions - of people across the country, marching to demand justice for immigrants and workers.  On the cusp of a Supreme Court decision on DAPA,  national elections  in  November,  and  humanitarian emergencies  in  Central  America,  Mexico and Syria, now is the time to show our leaders thatwe are a united and strong community.

Date: Sunday May 1, 2016

Time: 12pm Rally / 1pm March

Location:  From Fruitvale Bart Station to San Antonio Park

Pangea staff and clients will be marching at 1pm from Fruitvale station.  COME JOIN US!  

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FROM THE ORGANIZERS

Call to Action: On May Day 2016, We Vote in the Streets for Justice! 

We, the Bay Area May Day Coalition, call on all immigrant, labor, and community of color organizations to endorse and mobilize for May 1st and May 2nd, 2016. 

In the Bay Area our communities face increased state and economic violence. Only by building a mass movement in the streets that unites all of our struggles can we win our fight for justice and dignity. This May Day, it’s our day to vote! To endorse this call to action, please email Baymaydaycoalition@gmail.com. Please also fill out this form: 

Points of Unity

UPHOLD WORKER AND STUDENT RIGHTS
We demand respect for all workers’ rights: living wages and employee benefits, and an end to labor trafficking and wage theft. We demand empowering and free education, including ethnic studies programs, and for campus Graduate Student Workers to earn fair wages.

LEGALIZATION FOR ALL UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS, IMMEDIATE END TO DEPORTATIONS
We demand a clear path to legalization for all and an end to deportations and detentions. Regardless of skill, background, history of criminalization, sexuality, or gender identity, all migrants and their families have the right to freedom of movement and to live together in dignity.

SUPPORT THE STRUGGLE OF BLACK COMMUNITIES AGAINST STATE VIOLENCE IN THE U.S.
We march for Black Lives, Black Power, and Black Resistance. We support Black-led struggles against state violence and for self-determination. We stand with trans people of color against state violence.

BRING OUR LOVED ONES HOME FROM PRISONS, JAILS, AND DETENTION CENTERS
We march against all forms of state violence, including those inherent to systems of policing, imprisonment, and surveillance that primarily target Black, Brown, and poor communities. We march for the freedom of our loved ones locked in cages and for the families of those killed by the police. 

BUILD AND DEFEND STRONG AND HEALTHY COMMUNITIES
We demand access to meaningful work, guaranteed and comfortable housing, free and sustainable healthcare, and environmentally sustainable communities. We demand real solutions to reverse the effects of climate change that endanger us all globally but especially poor people and people of color.

END U.S. MILITARY AGGRESSION & CAPITALIST POLICIES THAT FORCE MIGRATION
More than 200 million people have been forced to leave their country of origin because of war, environmental degradation and unequal trade policies. We say: No More! End US military aid. End US imperialism and support for colonial governments.
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Endorsed by: Bay Area May Day Coalition, East Bay Immigrant Youth Coalition (EBIYC), Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), School of the Americas Watch – SF (SOAW-SF), United Educators of San Francisco, Bay Area Latin American Solidarity Coalition (BALASC), Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, East Bay Immigration Interfaith Coalition, Socialist Organizer

Rally Against ICE Raids Tomorrow 1/26

Join us in a major statewide action tomorrow! 

What: community members and advocates gather to stop the detention & deportation of immigrant families. 

Where: S.G. Walton Square (at Front and Davis St), San Francisco, CA

When: Tuesday Jan. 26 @ 10am