City of Santa Ana
SANTA ANA, CA – At a time when harsh immigration policies are disrupting our community, separating children and parents, and increasing detention and deportation, the City of Santa Ana celebrates the successes of the first year of work with the Vera Institute of Justice’s Safety and Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Network. The SAFE Network is a diverse group of a dozen cities and counties across America dedicated to providing publicly-funded universal representation for people facing deportation and to build evidence for its effectiveness.
For too long, most immigrants facing the terrifying prospect of deportation from their homes, loved ones, communities, and families have had no access to legal counsel and have found themselves navigating the complexities of immigration law alone. The SAFE Network aims to change that imbalance and ensure due process for immigrants, providing clients with representation, legal information, and a fair day in court. In its first year, SAFE Network attorneys made a difference in the lives of their clients and related families and communities: in year one, a remarkable 38 percent of cases represented by SAFE attorneys and completed in immigration court resulted in successful outcomes, permitting SAFE clients to remain in the United States. By comparison, only approximately 3 percent of unrepresented cases nationwide are successful.
“Partnering with VERA has allowed us to help many Santa Ana families, including parents, children, seniors and victims of domestic violence,” said Councilmember Vicente Sarmiento. “As a City, our responsibility is to keep our community safe, and protect our residents from harm. Effective legal representation will ensure that the due process rights of all our neighbors is a civic priority.”
“For the past year, our work with Vera’s SAFE Network has allowed us to honor the contributions immigrants make to Santa Ana and affirm their place in our nation,” said Councilmember David Benavides. “Aggressive deportation policies unnecessarily break apart families and weaken entire communities. When we give immigrants the resources they need to establish their legal right to live in the United States, we make our city and the nation a stronger, safer, and more vibrant place to live.”
The approach advanced by the SAFE Network and its universal representation model recognizes that a crucial way to keep our communities cohesive and safe, and to protect the values of due process and fairness, is to ensure legal representation for those whose future depends on it. Much like a public defense model in criminal cases, the universal representation model advanced by the SAFE Network means that everyone at risk of deportation should have access to due process and a fair day in court even if they cannot afford an attorney.
The SAFE Network includes the following jurisdictions:
● Atlanta, GA
● Austin, TX
● Baltimore, MD
● Chicago, IL
● Columbus, OH
● Dane County, WI
● Denver, CO
● Oakland/Alameda County, CA
● Prince George’s County, MD
● Sacramento, CA
● San Antonio, TX
● Santa Ana, CA
For more information: https://www.santa-ana.org/legal-defense-fund-universal-representation
About City of Santa Ana
Santa Ana is downtown for the world famous Orange County, California. As the County Seat, home to a vibrant evening scene and one of the most diverse communities in California, Santa Ana is gaining national attention for its efforts to innovate and address a changing County. Over 1,200 City employees work hard every day to deliver efficient public services in partnership with our community to ensure public safety, a prosperous economic environment, opportunities for our youth, and a high quality of life for residents. Learn more at http://www.santa-ana.org.
About the Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice is a justice reform change agent. Vera produces ideas, analysis, and research that inspire change in the systems people rely upon for safety and justice, and works in close partnership with government and civic leaders to implement it. Vera is currently pursuing core priorities of ending the misuse of jails, transforming conditions of confinement, and ensuring that justice systems more effectively serve America’s increasingly diverse communities.