San Francisco, A Sanctuary City
California, San Francisco, and SFUSD are and will always be sanctuaries committed to standing up for immigrant communities. We want all of our students, caregivers, and staff to be prepared and know their rights.
The City’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs continues to offer support and resources at 415-581-2360 or online at https://immigrants.sfgov.org/.
Rights of Undocumented Students
The San Francisco Unified School District is a safe haven for all students regardless of citizenship status. Every student has the right to attend school regardless of the immigration status of the child or of the child’s family members. All students, if they meet the federal and state criteria, are entitled to receive school services including free/reduced price school meals, transportation and other educational services. More information is included in the Student and Family Handbook under Chapter 3.6.6.
SFUSD Refugee and Immigrant Solidarity in Education (RISE-SF)
Newly arrived refugee and immigrant English Language Learners have particular educational strengths and challenges that necessitate specific support and programming. RISE-SF supports schools in implementing promising practices for this community.
As a sanctuary school district, SFUSD upholds every young person’s constitutional right to feel safe and supported in school. RISE-SF supports schools in ensuring their communities are aware of their rights and prepared to defend them.
- District Coordinator: Angelina Romano, MSW/PPS | RomanoA@sfusd.edu | 415.890.5324
For more information about RISE-SF, please go to their webpage.
Update on Public Charge Rules for Immigrants
On September 9, 2022, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services published a final rule on public charge effective December 23, 2022.
The new rule essentially codifies the 1999 guidance, with some added details and protections, strengthening the public charge guidance that we have had for more than two decades. At this time, the 1999 guidance is in effect. Under both current policy and the new rule once it goes into effect, it is safe for immigrants and their families to use health, nutrition, and housing programs for which they qualify. Health care programs, including Medicaid and COVID care, housing, food programs, and many other vital services are safe to use. - Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
For more information on the public charge rules, review ILRC's latest update.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA)
DACA was created in 2012 to give some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children temporary protection from deportation and access to a work permit.
On Aug. 30, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published regulations preserving and fortifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. The final rule, effective Oct. 31, 2022, maintains the current threshold criteria for DACA applicants, retains the current process for work authorization for DACA applicants, and affirms the DHS policy that DACA does not provide a lawful status but allows DACA applicants to be considered “lawfully present” for certain purposes.
Due to the partial stay of the July 16, 2021 injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, DHS is prevented from applying the final rule to new initial DACA requests but can continue to grant renewal requests under this final rule.
- For more information on the DACA requirements, go to the Immigrant and Legal Resource Center's DACA page.
- For a list of all SF-based providers who will provide DACA application services for free, go to Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs' (OCEIA) DACA webpage.
- For DACA fee assistance, review information at Mission Asset Fund
- For current and former SFUSD students, access free transcript records by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. More transcript information.
Know Your Rights and Family Emergency Toolkit
The San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network website offers resources regarding constitutional rights and engaging with law enforcement as well as support for families in creating a plan in case of detention and/or deportation.
If you are concerned about possible interactions with immigration officials, please consult with an attorney. Legal Service Providers:
- San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network includes community based legal services.
- San Francisco specific online immigration portal provides information and access to legal resources.
- National Online Tool can help you determine if you qualify for immigration relief.
Rapid Response Network
Many counties in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, have 24 hour multilingual hotlines to investigate possible activities by immigration officials in the community and to support you through any interaction with immigration. These Rapid Response Networks will send out a team of legal advocates to a location to offer legal advocacy.
- If you suspect or see ICE officials in your neighborhood or at your home, please call your area’s rapid response hotline.
- If you, a friend, or family member is arrested, please call the rapid response hotline.
- The San Francisco Rapid Response hotline - (415) 200-1548; here are steps to consider when calling.
Request an Interpreter
SFUSD school staff, including teachers, have access to simultaneous phone interpreters through Language Line. Please ask teachers and staff for a Language Line interpreter if you need one.
This page was last updated on March 1, 2023