East Bay Sanctuary Covenant offers sanctuary, solidarity, support, community organizing assistance, advocacy, and legal services to those escaping war, terror, political persecution, intolerance, exploitation, and other expressions of violence. We intentionally provide opportunities for transformational learning that arise from the relationships we fosters among refugees, immigrants, and host communities. We join with others to understand and eliminate the causes of violence and oppression worldwide.EBSC was formed in 1982, when East Bay congregations united in a covenant to provide sanctuary to Central American asylum seekers.
The East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC) provides sanctuary--support, protection, and advocacy--to low-income and indigent refugees and immigrants.
EBSC's work primarily consists of two programs: the Refugee Rights Program and the Community Development and Education program.
EBSC's largest program is our Refugee Rights Program (RRP). Through this program, we provide refugees and immigrants with a variety of low cost or free legal services. We are one of the few organizations in the Bay Area to offer walk-in service as well as service by appointment. We provide assistance to refugees from all over the world with asylum applications. We also provide our clients with other simpler types of immigration assistance: help renewing work permits, applying for travel documents, adjusting status (from asylum seeker, to resident, to citizen), adding family members to a case, and answering questions.
With our small but hard-working staff and countless volunteers, we processed 150 asylum applications in 2007. Typically, over 90% of our clients are granted asylum. In addition, in 2007, our Refugee Rights Program helped over 100 immigrants obtain citizenship and over 300 get permanent residency. In one year, RRP also processed more than 90 Alien Relative Petitions for the family members of legal immigrants, provided 145 clients with Refugee Travel Documents, renewed more than 300 immigrant work permits, and assisted more than 250 immigrants who were detained by the Immigration Service.
Community Development and Education
The goal of our educational programs is to educate our clients and to assist them in advocating for their own rights. Manuel De Paz, director of our Community Development and Education program (CDE), organizes leadership workshops, free informational workshops on a variety of topics, and provides referrals for housing, jobs and education. In addition, CDE sponsors an ESL (English as a Second Language) program for indigenous Guatemalans.