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Immigration Committee

photo by Peg Hunter

Kehilla Immigration Committee members are involved in many different aspects of immigration justice work, including political advocacy, direct service and education. We share opportunities to get involved in events and actions at Kehilla and in the wider community through an email list.

Current Immigration Committee Activities:

1) Accompaniment, Sponsorship and Housing

The Kehilla Immigration Committee, in collaboration with other community groups, organizes accompaniment teams, sponsors and housing hosts to provide practical assistance and shelter to newly arrived immigrants and refugees and to those impacted by detention and deportation. As of November 2019, twenty Kehilla families have shared their homes with immigrants, and our teams of accompaniment volunteers have worked with 23 families.  Kehilla members have helped free 8 individuals from detention by providing sponsorship.

2) Courtroom Accompaniment

Kehilla Immigration Committee members regularly attending ICE check-ins, bond hearings and immigration court hearings to provide community support for those seeking asylum as they make their way through the immigration court system.

3) Volunteering at the Border

The Kehilla Immigration Committee coordinates Kehilla members to volunteer at shelters at the border where asylum seekers have been dropped off after release from ICE detention.  Other Kehilla members volunteer with organizations to provide legal and medical assistance to asylum seekers waiting in Tijuana.

4) Political Organizing

The Let Our People Go subcommittee organized monthly protests at the West County ICE Detention Facility/Richmond Jail to oppose detention, deportation and mass incarceration.  The largest protest, in June 2018, drew over 3000 participants and contributed to the Contra Costa County’s decision to cancel its contract with ICE. Kehilla members currently attend and organize vigils and protest at the San Francisco ICE building.  Kehilla members participated in a large interfaith action at the border in December 2018.

5) Sanctuary.

Kehilla has been a sanctuary synagogue since the 1980’s. As of November 2019 we are nearing the completion of a sanctuary space at Kehilla for those who are facing detention and deportation.

Learn more about Kehilla as a Sanctuary Synagogue

Opportunities to Participate
If you would like to get involved in the immigration committee or learn about volunteer opportunities, please email:

Support Our Immigration Work
Provide direct support to immigrant families that are part of our accompaniment program or help Kehilla move towards providing physical sanctuary.

Click here to donate now (and choose “supporting immigration work” under type).

More Resources:

Center for American Progress

Center for American Progress is a progressive policy think-tank in Washington, DC that provides high-quality analysis of immigration issues in the US, including information on refugees, DACA and naturalization.

Migration Policy Institute

Migrant Policy Institute is a nonpartisan Washington, DC think-tank. Provides profiles of immigrant groups in the US, immigration trends in countries around the world and summaries/analysis of recent policy developments in the US. Also provides some map tools, a data hub and extensive policy reports.

Pew Hispanic Center

Pew Hispanic Center is a nonpartisan research organization and leading think-tank on Latinos in the United States. The website has reports about demography, economics, education, identity, attitudes (of Latinos, and of non-Latinos towards Latinos), immigration, labor, politics, and remittances.

UC Hastings Center for Gender and Refugee Studies

The Center for Gender and Refugee Studies provides legal assistance, research and resources focusing on women, children, LGBT individuals, and other refugees who flee persecution

Learn More, Volunteer, Donate:

Al Otro Lado

Al Otro Lado is a bi-national, direct legal services organization serving indigent deportees, migrants and refugees in Tijuana, Mexico, and those in immigration detention get released on bond. This includes long-t

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

The ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project is dedicated to expanding and enforcing the civil liberties and civil rights of immigrants and to combating public and private discrimination.n California schools.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Asian Law Caucus

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus is the nation’s first legal and civil rights organization serving the low-income Asian Pacific American communities. One focus of Advancing Justice – ALC focus is immigration and immigrants’ rights.

Bend the Arc

Bend the Arc provides information and lists actions in support of fair and just immigration reform

Boat Refugee Foundation (Stichting Bootvluchteling)

Boat Refugee Foundation does sea rescue and refugee work in Greece.

Doctors without Borders/Medecins sans Frontieres

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) works around the world to provide refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) with everything they need from psychological care to lifesaving nutrition.

Freedom for Immigrants

Freedom for Immigrants is devoted to abolishing immigration detention, while ending the isolation of people currently suffering in this profit-driven system. Freedom for Immigrants runs a national hotline and network of volunteer detention visitors, while also modeling a community-based alternative to detention that welcomes immigrants into the social fabric of the US.  FFI also provides a bond fund to help free immigrants from detention.

Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand is a national network of employers of nannies, housecleaners and home attendants, our families and allies, who are grounded in the conviction that dignified and respectful working conditions benefit worker and employer alike. Hand in Hand is a member of the California Domestic Workers Coalition.

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)

HIAS works around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. 

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.

Jewish Voice for Peace

Provides resources and lists actions relating to the Syrian refugee crisis

Kids in Need of Defense

KIND staff and pro bono attorney partners at law firms, corporations, and law schools nationwide represent unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their deportation proceedings.

National Network for Immigrant Refugee Rights

The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) works to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants and refugees, regardless of immigration status

 No More Deaths/ No Mas Muertes

The mission of No More Deaths is to end death and suffering in the borderlands through direct aid that extends the right to provide humanitarian assistance, witnessing and responding, consciousness raising, global movement building, encouraging humane immigration policy.

Organization for Refuge Asylum and Migration (ORAM)

ORAM specializes in the protection of exceptionally vulnerable refugees, including LGBTI refugees.

Oxfam International

Helps meet basic needs of refugees worldwide.

Santa Fe Dreamers Project

Santa Fe Dreamers Project provides free legal services to immigrants.  One aspect of the work is to represent and find sponsors for detained transgender women.

United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

UNHCR works to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home.

 United We Dream

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. It organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status.

Asian Immigrant Women Advocates

AIWA works with immigrant workers employed in the Bay Area’s garment, home care, hotel, restaurant, assembly and other low-wage industries, and low-income immigrant youth in Oakland. The organization seeks to empower women and youth through education, leadership development and collective action.

 Bay Area Immigration Bond Fund

This is a revolving community bond fund whose goal is to support detained individuals who are punished for not having the money to post a bond by helping them do so, ensuring that they will have the opportunity to zealously fight for their right to remain in the US.

California Immigrant Policy Center

CIPC advances inclusive policies that build a prosperous future for all Californians, using policy analysis, advocacy and capacity building to unlock the power of immigrants in California.

 Causa Justa Just Cause

Causa Justa :: Just Cause builds grassroots power and leadership to create strong, equitable communities.

 Central American Resource Center SF

CARECEN of Northern California provides vital direct services and engages in community development and advocacy to help create a vibrant and thriving Latino immigrant community in San Francisco, the Bay Area, and beyond.

Centro Legal de la Raza (Oakland)

Centro Legal de la Raza protects and advances the rights of immigrant, low-income, and Latino communities through bilingual legal representation, education, and advocacy.

East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition (EBIIC)

EBIIC is a network of faith leaders across the East Bay who are deeply concerned from faith convictions about the rights and dignity of immigrants

East Bay Sanctuary Covenant

EBSC provides sanctuary–support, protection, and advocacy–to low-income and indigent refugees and immigrants. Its Refugee Rights Program provides refugees and immigrants with a variety of low cost or free legal services.

El/La Para TransLatinas

 El/La is an organization for transgender Latinas in the Bay Area that works to build collective vision and action to promote survival and improve the quality of life.

Faith in Action Bay Area]

Faith in Action is a network of congregations and community leaders working to ensure that the dignity of all people in our community is upheld and focuses on the issues of gun violence, mass incarceration, health care, immigrant justice, voting rights/democracy.

ICE Out of California

This website aims to identify the current trends in collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE so community organizers and advocates can strategically push ICE out of California.

Immigrant Family Defense Fund

This fund helps parents and children in California schools facing the threat of deportation access qualified legal representation, and those in immigration detention get released on bond.  This includes long-time California residents, newly arriving families, and unaccompanied minors enrolled in California schools.

Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights

ICIR calls together people of faith to promote the rights, fair treatment, and dignity of all immigrants regardless of their immigration status and works for a healthy, inclusive California where all people are welcome and have access to full participation in the life of the community.

 Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (IM4Human Integrity)

IM4HI organizes congregations to accompany, shelter and advocate for people threatened by deportation.  IM4HI hosts regular vigils at immigration detention center and brings together faith leaders and directly impacted immigrants to stand up for human rights and the dignity of all people.

Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay

JFCS provides refugee and immigrant services including family and parenting support, legal services, mental health services, refugees welcome fund, senior services, health navigation, LGBT refugee services, refugee resettlement and the Russian Jewish program.

 La Clinica de la Raza

The mission of La Clínica is to improve the quality of life of the diverse communities by providing culturally appropriate, high quality, and accessible health care for all.

Legal Services for Children

Legal Services for Children provides free representation to children and youth who require legal assistance to stabilize their lives and realize their full potential.

 Mujeres Unidas Y Activas

Mujeres Unidas y Activas is a grassroots organization of Latina immigrant women with a double mission of promoting personal transformation and building community power for social and economic justice.

 Oakland Catholic Worker

The Oakland Catholic Worker is a House of Hospitality offering transitional housing (up to 4 months) to Latin American Immigrants.

 Oasis Legal Services

Oasis Legal Services provides legal immigration services to under-represented low-income groups with a focus on the LGBTQIA+ communities.

Pangea Legal Services

The mission of Pangea Legal Services is to stand with immigrant communities and provide direct legal representation, especially in the area of deportation defense.

Refugee Transitions

RT’s mission is to assist newcomer families in becoming self-sufficient in the United States by providing services to help them attain the English language, life, job, and academic skills they need to succeed in their new communities.

Sogorea Te- Land Trust:  An Urban Indigenous Women-Led Land Trust in California’s East Bay

The Sogorea Te- Land Trust facilitates the return of Chochenyo And Karkin Ohlone lands in the SF Bay Are to Indigenous stewardship.

Street Level Health Project

Street Level Health Project is an Oakland-based grassroots organization dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of underserved urban immigrant communities in the Bay Area.

 UC Berkeley Refugee Resources

UCB Refugee Resources is a clearinghouse for activism and information and provides a website, listserv and community of people at Berkeley and the surrounding area to respond to refugee issues around the world, especially the Middle East.

UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program

Provides resources and support services for students wanting to attend or attending UC Berkeley.  Offers opportunities to help local undocumented students apply to Berkeley.

Recent Kol Kehilla posts from the Immigration Committee:

  • Housing Needed Kehilla’s Immigration Committee has been accompanying a family of seven from Afghanistan that Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay resettled in January 2020. The family is looking to rent a two or 3-bedroom home in the East Bay, ideally in Berkeley, Albany, Oakland, or Alameda. For the past two years, the father has worked… »
  • Pilgrimage for a Better Future May 28-June 1, 2022 Photos and Reflections
    Julie Litwin
    Wren Ganin-Pinto and I were honored to represent Kehilla in a journey of faith leaders, activists and folks directly impacted by ICE detention that was organized by the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity and Dignity not Detention.  We traveled to the seven ICE detention facilities in California and other significant sites… »
  • Update from the Immigration Committee – 3/4/2022
    Our accompaniment program has been in full-swing. In addition to continuing to work with individuals and families we knew before the pandemic, we have had the opportunity to form new teams over the past 2 years to accompany asylum seekers and refugees from Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Russia, Nicaragua and… »

View more »

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