Last month, SVCF's board voted unanimously to give its fullest support to Senate Bill 6, the Due Process for All Act, which provides legal services for immigrants in California facing deportation from the United States.
This bill would require the State Department of Social Services to administer a new program with dedicated resources to provide legal services to individuals in removal proceedings. At this point, we do not know what the full impact of the administration’s immigration policies will be in California, but we know that they will probably be considerable – taking into account the amount of undocumented individuals in our state and the amount of mixed status families.
Our immigrant communities are part of our social fabric and fundamental to the economic vibrancy and prosperity of our region. Since our merger, immigrant integration has been a key strategy of our grantmaking and advocacy work and our commitment to supporting legal services has never wavered. Since 2008, SVCF has invested more than $6 million in programs that strengthen the legal services infrastructure in our region to ensure the provision of affordable and reliable legal services for immigrants.
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 these collaboratives. Finally, earlier this year 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.
We support SB 6 because we are a region of immigrants -- more than one third of the 2.5 million residents of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are immigrants, and more than two thirds of those younger than 18 are children of immigrants. SVCF has invested heavily in legal services for immigrants, but we know that there is considerable unmet demand. Today, it is estimated that there are close to 200,000 undocumented immigrants in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. We pride ourselves as an institution built on our values of diversity and inclusion. Supporting immigrants and their contributions to our economy and communities is consistent with these values.
We know 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 administration’s immigration policies to our state. This effort falls squarely within our focus. It could encourage other funders to get involved in the work and contribute to the fund; strengthen the legal services in our communities and throughout the state; and, we will continue to send a strong message that we recognize immigrants are assets and fundamental to our region’s continued prosperity and quality of life.
Read more details about SVCF and SB 6 in our press release. Also, feel free to share the tweets and Facebook posts you will start seeing soon about the bill and our support of it.