Immigrant Life

A store owner and hot dog vendor refuse to give up

A tiny bark welcomes you into Productos Naturales Georgina’s at 2286 Mission Street. Popi, a small Chihuahua, sits behind the counter in his FBI sweater. “He’s my guard,” says Georgina, the owner. “He lets me know whenever anyone comes into the store when I’m in the back. I have avoided being robbed countless times because of him.” “I stocked this...

For one vendor the street is both home and business

Abdiel Avila, 58, sets up on Mission Street every morning. He spreads a blanket out beneath the shade of a tree near 17th Street and pulls out watches, chargers, shoes, backpacks, movies, bike seats, and whatever has come his way. Once, he even tried to sell a dog someone gave him. On a good day, he says, he can make...

Rumors of citizenship troubles keep immigrants from getting legal benefits

Immigrants who can’t afford to feed their families are facing hunger rather than accepting benefits that rumors tell them could put their hopes of becoming citizens in jeopardy, according to immigration attorneys and those who work with food benefits. “We have asylum seekers who are in homeless shelters and they haven’t accessed benefits because they’re afraid it’ll affect their case,”...

Coalition asks city to fund Latino success

San Francisco’s Latino population struggles disproportionately in key areas that determine success and stability, said a coalition of nonprofits that serve low-income Latino communities around the city. The groups, under the name San Francisco Latino Parity and Equity Coalition, are calling for more funding to go to services for struggling Latino families. The coalition held a press conference Wednesday highlighting...

Activists convince Mission Language and Vocational School to back out of property deal

Neighborhood organizations are mobilizing to renegotiate a deal struck years ago – and recently upheld in binding arbitration –  to save the Mission Language and Vocational School from what was then looming financial ruin. That 2013 deal, made with Huckleberry Friends, which promotes science and engineering education for youth, was a lease with an option to buy the leased portion...

Workers, immigrants, rally for May Day

In a demonstration of solidarity with worker and immigrant rights activists around the nation, protesters streamed onto Market Street and into Civic Center Plaza on Monday to mark May Day, also known as International Workers Day. Locally, it was also pronounced a Day Without Immigrants to protest federal immigration policies. Thousands marched down Market Street, according to police estimates, and hundreds...

Immigrants around the Mission close their businesses for day of protest

On a day workers around the world have traditionally marked as a day to protest for labor rights, immigrants have added their voices, or rather their absence, to make a point. On May 1, or May Day, many around the Bay Area and the Mission closed up shop for a day without immigrants. “I want to support my community,” said Robert Sanchez,...

Listen Local: A primer on SF as a Sanctuary City and its future

Listen Local is Mission Local’s biweekly radio program. We broadcast live online at BFF.fm every other Thursday morning from 9:30 to 10:00. Saira Hussain, a staff attorney at the Asian Americans Advancing Justice / Asian Law Caucus, joins us to go into the details of what being a Sanctuary City means, specifically in San Francisco. No, it doesn’t mean ICE can’t...

Survey: Latino families in Mission struggle, many earn below poverty level

A survey of 584 households with children in the Mission District and surrounding area shows that while the city overall enjoys low unemployment rates and high incomes, local Latino families experience a starkly different economy. Nearly all of the respondents were Latino and the majority of them were women. Most – 77 percent of the 447 who answered the household...

Mexican presidential hopeful gets warm welcome in SF Mission

Mexican presidential hopeful Andrés Manuel López Obrador made an appearance in the Mission District Monday evening, drawing a crowd of more than 200 supporters who welcomed him to the Grand Theater, now Gray Area, on Mission Street with cheers, chants, and signs. “Es un honor luchar con Obrador,” they chanted, or, “It’s an honor to fight with Obrador.” With two...

Immigration Lawyer Warns of Scammers Exploiting Deportation Fears

With immigration enforcement rapidly becoming more aggressive, immigrants have a lot of questions and concerns,  but they should be cautious about who they turn to for help, warns one immigration lawyer. “There’s just people out there who are willing to scam or take advantage of the fear that people are experiencing right now,” said attorney Veronica B. Guinto at an...

See ICE in the City? Call This Number, Say Immigrant Rights Groups

Immigration nonprofits have sprung into action to respond to President Donald Trump’s threats to increase deportations, and are now offering a 24-hour hotline in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese. Anyone who sees Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  activity in San Francisco can call (415) 200-1548 at any time. A call to the hotline initiates a process that includes nonprofits sending...

Activists Announce Plans for Day Without Immigrants on May Day

A Mission District coalition of activist organizations calling itself the “Coalición Primero de Mayo,” or the May 1 Coalition marked Presidents’ Day by announcing its plans for another Day Without Immigrants on May 1. The day will also include a march. The coalition called on supporters to resist by not attending work, going to work, or doing any shopping.  ...

SF Mayor Resists Funding Specialized Team of Immigration Lawyers

San Francisco leaders on Thursday stalled legislation that would fund a team of attorneys working out of the Public Defender’s office who are specialized in defending detained immigrants facing deportation proceedings. The legislation, introduced by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, would allow the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office to create 13 new positions, including seven attorneys and six support staff, with...

Revamped Day Laborer Center Increases Support to Immigrant Workers

Some 40 people gathered on a sliver of sidewalk outside of the Immigrant Worker Power Center at 3358 Cesar Chavez St.  to celebrate the center’s reopening following heavy renovations Thursday morning. The center has served as a hub for organizing work in the workers and immigrant rights movements and as a vocational training facility, and houses the 25-year-old collective of immigrant workers known...