Through our Immigrant Legal Defense Program, we increase access to justice and protect the due process rights of low-income and unrepresented immigrants facing deportation. We help build legal capacity and resources in Northern California so agencies are better coordinated and equipped to defend individuals in deportation proceedings in the San Francisco Immigration Court.
Attorneys of the Day (AODs) are experienced immigration lawyers who appear at the San Francisco Immigration Court to assist unrepresented respondents in their initial deportation proceedings. AODs advocate for respondents before the Immigration Judge on the detained, non-detained, and juvenile dockets. They provide individual consultations, legal advice, and referrals to help connect respondents with additional assistance, including full-scope removal defense.
The San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative (SFILDC) is a collective of 15 San Francisco organizations that provide free, high-quality, culturally competent legal services to adults, children, and families in removal proceedings. JDC serves as the SFILDC’s legal lead and provides services coordination, legal training, technical assistance, and advocacy support to member agencies.
As part of the AOD Program, JDC provides special trainings and interpretation services for immigration attorneys interested in serving as AODs and providing removal defense services to Santa Clara County residents. JDC has also developed special intake and referral procedures for Santa Clara County residents, especially those with criminal convictions that may make them ineligible for county-funded services.
The AILA Mesa Verde Pro Bono Project was founded by Centro Legal de la Raza and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto to coordinate pro bono legal representation for asylum-seekers in immigration detention in the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Immigration Court. JDC is the lead coordinator for the project’s referral and placement of cases with pro bono counsel. JDC also provides ongoing mentorship to pro bono attorneys, in collaboration with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and additional legal assistance to unrepresented asylum seekers.