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NLG-SFBA | Programs

Immigration Justice Program

The NLG-SFBA’s Immigration Justice Program engages NLG members and other community members in learning about, monitoring, and holding accountable the US immigration system as it exists in the Bay Area and beyond.

IMMIGRATION JUSTICE COMMITTEE

NLG-SFBA opposes detention and deportation, including those based on immigration status, and works to improve the laws and policies that affect immigrant communities.  

The NLG-SFBA Immigration Committee is composed of attorneys, students, and legal workers who work together to provide Know Your Rights (KYR) trainings, train community members to lead KYR trainings, and hold immigration court accountable through a Collaborative Court Watch program.  

The Committee is consisted of three work groups focused on different areas of Immigration Justice:

  • Immigration Court Accountability: This group expands the Immigration Court Observation Program (ICOP) and the ‘Fire Immigration Judge Ford’ Campaign.
  • Decriminalization, Decarceration, and Abolition: This group dedicates their work towards abolition of detention centers by connecting with other projects who are monitoring their local detention centers.
  • Public Advocacy and Education: This group uplifts anti-racist work through educating lawyers and illustrating the profitable relationship between the tech industry and the immigration system.

 

The Committee’s listserv of over 300 members also provides a space for practitioners to keep updated on changes to the law and policy, seek practice advice from other immigration attorneys and legal workers, and to support communities and organizations fighting mass deportation and the criminalization of immigrants.

Quick Links

What you can do!

The Collaborative Court Watch program of the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Chapter seeks to bring greater transparency and accountability to Immigration Court by training volunteers to attend and observe immigration hearings and document any violations of immigrants’ due process rights. 

The Collaborative Court Watch program trains law students and other community member volunteers to attend and observe detained immigration court bond and master calendar hearings and to document violations of immigrants’ due process rights. Observation is particularly needed now because many of the judges in San Francisco Immigration Court are recent appointees. Although immigration court hearings are open to the public, few people attend to observe these proceedings. There is no right to public counsel in immigration court with limited exceptions and, therefore, only 15% of immigrants in detention are represented by attorneys. This means that the vast majority of immigrants have no choice but to go up against the Department of Homeland Security attorneys on their own. By maintaining a constant presence in San Francisco Immigration Court, the Collaborative Court Watch program keeps pressure on judges to hold them accountable, helps make court hearings more transparent and identifies any needs and trends in immigration court that impact immigrants’ due process rights.

Ready to start volunteering as an immigration court observer?

Volunteering as an observer starts with getting trained. Training includes an overview of immigration law, immigration court proceedings including bond, master and individual hearings  in removal or deportation proceedings. Trainees are introduced to and deportation/removal process, important things to note while observing, options for supporting a person in immigration proceedings, and how to contribute to national court observation data. Once trained, volunteers immediately can start attending immigration court hearings and submitting observation data. Fill out this form to volunteer: bit.ly/courtwatch1  

If you’re part of a group or organization that would like to start sending observer teams to San Francisco court hearings, request a training to get started. Request a Collaborative Court Watch Training for your group or organization here.

Want observers and court support at an upcoming immigration hearing?

If you would like court observer-supporters at your or your client’s immigration hearing, fill out the form at http://bit.ly/SFcourtwatchrequest

Resources for Migrants and Advocates

Court Watch Volunteers, this is a page of resources for supporting those immigration proceedings and their loved ones.

The Collaborative Court Watch program of the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Chapter seeks to bring greater transparency and accountability to Immigration Court by training volunteers to attend and observe immigration hearings and document any violations of immigrants’ due process rights. 

The Collaborative Court Watch program trains law students and other community member volunteers to attend and observe detained immigration court bond and master calendar hearings and to document violations of immigrants’ due process rights. Observation is particularly needed now because many of the judges in San Francisco Immigration Court are recent appointees. Although immigration court hearings are open to the public, few people attend to observe these proceedings. There is no right to public counsel in immigration court with limited exceptions and, therefore, only 15% of immigrants in detention are represented by attorneys. This means that the vast majority of immigrants have no choice but to go up against the Department of Homeland Security attorneys on their own. By maintaining a constant presence in San Francisco Immigration Court, the Collaborative Court Watch program keeps pressure on judges to hold them accountable, helps make court hearings more transparent and identifies any needs and trends in immigration court that impact immigrants’ due process rights.

Ready to start volunteering as an immigration court observer?

Volunteering as an observer starts with getting trained. Training includes an overview of immigration law, immigration court proceedings including bond, master and individual hearings  in removal or deportation proceedings. Trainees are introduced to and deportation/removal process, important things to note while observing, options for supporting a person in immigration proceedings, and how to contribute to national court observation data. Once trained, volunteers immediately can start attending immigration court hearings and submitting observation data. Fill out this form to volunteer: bit.ly/courtwatch1  

If you’re part of a group or organization that would like to start sending observer teams to San Francisco court hearings, request a training to get started. Request a Collaborative Court Watch Training for your group or organization here.

Want observers and court support at an upcoming immigration hearing?

If you would like court observer-supporters at your or your client’s immigration hearing, fill out the form at http://bit.ly/SFcourtwatchrequest. 

Resources for Migrants and Advocates

Court Watch Volunteers, this is a page of resources for supporting those immigration proceedings and their loved ones.

With our Immigration Justice Program, NLG-SFBA is part of a coalition-run campaign to hold accountable San Francisco Immigration Court, and Immigration Courts broadly. The Collaborative Court Watch program is an important way to keep eyes on the courts, let the Court know the community is watching, raise public awareness about the inequities in immigration proceedings, and document failures of due process. In addition, the Immigration Court Accountability Campaign includes a recent complaint filed with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) about the egregious, hostile, and biased behavior of SF Immigration Judge Nicholas Ford. We collaborated with many lawyers, individuals navigating the US immigration system, and immigration advocates to document errors and offensive behavior of this Immigration Judge and submit an official complaint to the Department of Justice. We will not let Immigration Judges go unwatched or act like the courtrooms are their fiefdoms in which their bad behavior is allowed to ruin people’s lives and tear apart communities. NLG-SFBA will stand in coalition to monitor and hold accountable oppose Immigration Judges and the SF Immigration Court when they fail to follow laws, disregard procedure, or rob individuals of their due process. The system is inadequate to monitor itself; we, and the communities we work alongside and defend, hold SF Immigration Judges and Immigration Court to account.

  • CLEs
    • The Immigration Justice Program periodically runs legal education events (CLEs) and know-your-rights trainings for lawyers, legal workers, immigrant community members, and other allies and advocates. 
    • On June 24, 2020 we collaborated with NLG-Los Angeles, National Immigration Project of the NLG, and the NLG National Office to provide a CLE on ‘Fighting for the Release of Detained Immigrants During the COVID-19 Pandemic.’ Speakers, including some class counsel, addressed release tools and strategies including bond, parole, and humanitarian parole; habeas corpus claims; class action cases Hernandez Roman and Fraihat; and release and post-release activism for lawyers. You can find the event information and recording here. 
    •  
  • Know Your Rights (KYR) trainings and materials
    • NLGSFBA and partners offer Know Your Rights trainings and train-the-trainer sessions for immigrant leaders and community members to keep each other safe at home, at work, and on the streets — whether or not you’re demonstrating! 
    • The trainings are designed to better equip folx to organize and defend themselves against ICE repression. The training provides an overview of non-citizens’ constitutional and procedural rights when interacting with immigration agents (Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection) and other state and federal law enforcement. It also covers how to get involved in supporting immigrants’ rights movements and certain laws that may help undocumented immigrants obtain legal status, worker protections and other benefits. If you are a community group and would like to request a Know Your Rights training, please fill out the form below. Please note that we are an all-volunteer group and cannot guarantee presenters for every request made. Please allow for at least 4 weeks’ notice to allow us adequate time to find presenters and plan the format with organizers. Request a Know Your Rights Training, click here. Solicite un entrenamiento Conozca sus derechos, haga clic aquí. 
    • Click here for our KYR trainings and here for our KYR materials

NLGSF opposes efforts to detain and deport people based on their status as migrants and immigrants and works to improve the laws and policies that affect immigrant communities.  The NLGSF Immigration Committee is comprised of attorneys, students, and legal workers who work together to provide Know Your Rights (KYR) trainings, train community members to lead KYR trainings and engage in rapid response work.  The Committee’s listserv of over 200 members also provides a space for practitioners to keep updated on changes to the law and policy, seek practice advice from other immigration attorneys and legal workers, and to support communities and organizations fighting mass deportation and the criminalization of immigrants. Click here to join the Immigration listserv.

Root Causes of Forced Migration

Immigration Partner Organizations

Stay informed and engaged!

Join our Immigration Listserv, a forum in which to discuss and share immigration information with progressive lawyers and legal advocates.

Sign up for the NLG-SFBA’s weekly newsletter, which includes Immigration Justice Program updates. 

Action

Take action for immigration justice! See a list of actions and events below.