SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — This past week, S.F. Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced $10 million in total budget funding over two years to support San Francisco’s immigrant community, including additional legal services, financial education, support of the opening of the new labor center for immigrants, and funding to strengthen Citywide efforts including San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative, the DreamSF Initiative and funding to implement President Barack Obama’s Administrative Relief actions to help undocumented immigrants come out of the shadows and access City services.
“As the son of immigrant parents, I understand this issue deeply and personally,” said Mayor Lee. “In San Francisco, we applauded the President’s bold action on immigration, and we are taking the next step by funding the very programs our immigrant families need to set themselves up for success. With our local efforts, including the Pathways to Citizenship and DreamSF initiatives, we will continue to lead the way. The new partnership with labor unions and community-based organizations will create a first of its kind resource center for union immigrant families and will help set up our immigrant families on a path to success.”
“San Francisco would not be the innovative, diverse, and resilient City that it is without our strong immigrant community,” said Supervisor Katy Tang. “We must do everything we can to support new immigrants looking for new opportunities in our City, as well as long-time immigrant families seeking support and stability.”
San Francisco is a long-time leader in immigrant rights, with substantial investments promoting citizenship, providing access to City services for speakers of other languages and providing leadership on issues such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Unaccompanied Immigrant Children.
Mayor Lee in his proposed Fiscal Year 2015-16 and 2016-17 budget authorized $2.5 million in new funding for the Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA) and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) to strengthen Citywide efforts to implement Administrative Relief actions and funding both the San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative and the DreamSF Initiative.
Mayor Lee’s commitment of $1 million in funding for OCEIA will strengthen these efforts to administer the President’s Administrative Relief. The City will provide outreach and education in appropriate languages to make sure people understand the process and know their rights, in a culturally competent manner. The City has already developed strong relationships with immigrant legal, social and community service providers, philanthropy, and a vast network of partners to engage the communities impacted by the President’s Administrative Relief.
The San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative helps San Francisco immigrants apply for citizenship. An innovative public-private partnership, the Pathways to Citizenship Initiative benefits not only those who will become citizens, but also the communities in which new citizens live, work, and contribute – by lowering poverty rates, increasing economic mobility and access to higher education, ensuring greater access to affordable health care, enhancing civic participation, and creating stability and cohesion for immigrant families.
The DreamSF Initiative provides annual grants to support outreach, education, legal services and application assistance to eligible youth for the DACA program. The expanded DreamSF program includes leadership development, skills building and employment.
To extend the reach and complement these initiatives, Mayor Lee today also announced funding for a fee assistance pilot for immigrant youth and families eligible for the DACA program and Pathways to Citizenship. In addition, the Mayor also will include $1.5 million in funding in his June budget to address the demand for immigration related legal services and supports. Through partnerships with non-profit service providers, the City will support growing demand for immigration-related legal services, community education, and outreach.
For more information on the Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs, go to: www.sfgsa.org.
As part of his proposed budget funding, Mayor Lee today also announced the launch of We Rise SF Labor Center for Immigrant Justice to provide wraparound social services for immigrant union workers and their families. A partnership with the San Francisco Labor Council and SEIU Local 87, the center helps immigrant union families gain access to a range of legal services and a pathway to both understand and gain improved immigration status in the current landscape of immigration reform and the Presidential Executive Order on immigration.
“The SF Labor Council and SEIU Local 87, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, the SF Bay Area Labor Foundation, the National AFL-CIO and a tremendous network of community-based organizations, including SF Bay for Immigrant Justice, are excited to work together to launch We Rise SF — the new Labor Center for Immigrant Justice,” said San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson.
“This center will be focused on providing direction, assistance and a stronger voice for immigrant union workers and their families who are navigating the country’s currently fractured immigration system,” said Janitors Union – SEIU Local 87 President Olga Miranda.
Funded through the City’s budget, We Rise SF Labor Center for Immigrant Justice will create infrastructure to provide outreach and a set of on-going, critical legal and social services to immigrant union members and their families as they navigate the immigration system. The center will have multilingual staff and materials to deliver cultural competent services including initial information and expertise about immigration law and the DACA program. We Rise SF Labor Center for Immigrant Justice will be housed at SEIU Local 87 at 240 Golden Gate Avenue, and will open its doors in early July 2015.