Press Release - March 2, 2017

Silicon Valley Community Foundation Supports "Due Process for All" Bill, Providing Legal Services for Immigrants Facing Removal from the U.S.

Legislation in California Senate seeks to expand legal services for vulnerable immigrants

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - In a move intended to support expanded legal remedies and information for undocumented immigrants facing deportation from California in the current national climate, Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s board voted unanimously to give its fullest support to Senate Bill 6, the Due Process for All Act.

The Act, sponsored by state Sen. Ben Hueso (D-Chula Vista), directs the California Department of Social Services to enable funding for legal services for immigrants – excluding those with previous convictions for violent crime – who are facing removal proceedings.

The decision by SVCF – the nation’s largest community foundation, with more than $8 billion in assets under management – stems from its longstanding advocacy and leadership on issues of immigration and legal services for immigrants. Since 2008, SVCF has invested more than $6 million in programs to strengthen the legal services infrastructure in our region to ensure immigrants have access to affordable and reliable legal services.

“The Bay Area is a region of immigrants, and we value the diversity and intellectual, social and cultural richness they bring to our community, “ said Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D., CEO and president of SVCF. “For years, SVCF has invested in programs to give immigrants access to legal services that help them incorporate themselves more closely into the financial, social and economic fabric of our community, benefiting us all. We intend to use our voice and our leadership position to advocate for passage of this bill to help immigrants facing removal from California.”

A track record of successful support

In 2009, SVCF provided seed funding for two immigrant legal services collaboratives that are now the most recognized and trusted in the region: the South Bay Legal and Immigration Services Network (SBLISN) and Collaborative Resources for Immigrant Services on the Peninsula (CRISP). The impact of this work on the immigrant community has been significant. More than 40,000 immigrants have received affordable, high-quality legal services through the nonprofit organizations that participate in these collaborative efforts. In 2014 alone, the collaborating organizations worked on more than 11,000 legal cases, 95 percent of which had successful outcomes, including clients who obtained 10-year legal permanent resident (LPR) cards, favorable asylum decisions or U.S. citizenship.

In addition, SVCF funding helped nearly 80 legal staff in 15 nonprofit legal service agencies receive Board of Immigration Appeals accreditation, which allows them to counsel immigration clients, complete immigration forms and represent clients before the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Recent initiatives

In January, SVCF established the Opportunity for All fund to address the immediate need for information, resources and high-quality affordable legal services for immigrants in Silicon Valley. In addition, SVCF has created A Nation of Us, a website devoted to covering immigration issues in the Bay Area that also allows users to subscribe to an immigration-related newsletter.

SVCF’s action in support of the DPAA is also in line with the sentiments of more than 90 leaders from local government and immigration advocacy organizations whom SVCF convened shortly after the presidential election. These leaders expressed a collective urgency to address the growing anxiety and fear of deportation among immigrants living in our region.

“There is a considerable lack of knowledge in our state about the contributions of immigrants, the incredible legal assistance need, and the potential danger of the federal government’s new immigration policies to our state,” Carson said. “We have the responsibility and the long-established partnerships to bring advocacy and legal resources to bear to protect those we consider to be assets, fundamental to our region’s continued prosperity and quality of life.”

More about DPAA

  • Senate Bill 6 establishes the Due Process for All Act (DPAA) to provide legal services to California immigrants facing deportation.
  • This bill would require the State Department of Social Services to administer a new program to provide legal services to individuals in removal proceedings. This bill prohibits use of funds to provide services to individuals with previous convictions of violent crimes.
  • This bill establishes a new program with a dedicated funding source from the state’s General Fund to open the pool of qualified immigrants able to receive legal services (currently restricted primarily to certain unaccompanied minors or those applying for federal deferred-action protections).
  • Finally, this bill would go into immediate effect as an urgency statute necessary to ensure Californians’ due process rights are protected by providing access to counsel in preparation for the federal government’s expected expansion of deportation policies.
 
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About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. As the largest community foundation in the world, we engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at  siliconvalleycf.org.