About a Legal Defense Fund – Undocumented immigrants

Information provided by Faith in Fresno.

Contact Sukaina Hussain, Community Organizer, 847-924-9592, Faith in Fresno, 546 N Fulton St, Fresno, CA 93728

City of Fresno Legal Defense Fund

Faith in Fresno is asking its Member Congregations (including the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno) to contact City Councilmembers and urge them to vote in favor of funding an Immigration Legal Defense Fund in the Fresno City Budget.  This would help provide legal assistance to those facing deportation and who would otherwise not be able to afford legal representation.  Our congregation’s Faith in Fresno Team committed that our church would make 100 calls to Councilmember Paul Caprioglio to encourage him to vote yes (please call even if you are not in his district)

Councilmember Soria – Voting Yes

Councilmember Baines – Voting Yes

Councilmember Chavez – Unsure, may lean Yes

*Councilmember Caprioglio - Unknown, needs pressure

Councilmember Olivier – No

Councilmember Bredefeld – No

Councilmember Brandau – No

Below is a call script with phone numbers to City Council Members.

Below that is detailed information about the proposed Legal Defense Fund.

Legal Defense Fund

Call Script with Phone Numbers


Hello, Councilmember _____________________. My name is ______________________ and I am calling from _________________________ (congregation). I am calling you today to urge you to support and pass an addition to the upcoming budget to include investment into a Legal Defense Fund to help protect undocumented immigrants who are threatened by deportation and have no access to legal representation.


One of the most pressing problems facing many immigrant families in Fresno is the inability to afford or find quality legal representation. This is particularly important since individuals in immigration court are not provided a public defender. This prevents families who cannot find or afford quality legal representation from having any opportunity at defending against unavoidable and unjust deportations, as well as other threats.


That is why several other cities have recently supported and partnered with local funders to create these funds and why the City of Fresno needs to make this commitment to help save Fresno families.


Call Your Councilmember Today!


Esmeralda Soria, District 1

(559) 621-7810


Steve Brandau, District 2
(559) 621-7820


Oliver L. Baines, District 3
(559) 621-7831

Paul Caprioglio, District 4
(559) 621-7842


Luis Chavez, District 5
(559) 621-7850

Garry Bredefeld, District 6
(559) 621-7861

Clint Olivier, District 7
(559) 621-7875


Legal Defense Fund: Fresno City Budget Proposal


Faith in Fresno congregations, clergy and community partners are strongly recommending that the Fresno City Council and Mayor Brand support an addition to the budget to invest into and provide leadership to help steer creation of a public-private Legal Defense Fund, to concretely save Fresno families and send a message to other prospective supporters that this is a commitment we can all make together. After discussions with local attorneys, community groups, and philanthropic foundations, we believe there is a strong and rising coalition of support around this cause.


As we have seen across the country, and particularly in California, raids and deportations of our immigrant families have increased in the last few months. Recent Executive Orders have led to unprecedented expansion of who can and is being targeted by ICE, with an 150% increase this year in arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record. As fears and anxieties rise within our communities, one of the most pressing problems facing many immigrant families in Fresno and beyond is the inability to afford or find quality legal representation to regularize their immigration status or in case they are detained. This is particularly important since individuals in immigration court are not provided a public defender. This prevents families who cannot find or afford quality legal representation from any opportunity at defending against unavoidable and unjust deportations, as well as other threats.


Several California cities have recently approved funding to catalyze a Legal Defense Fund, which would take some City funding and multiply it by coupling it with other public and/or private sources, to create a pool of funding for legal services. This would help both defer costs in certain situations and create an environment that helps identify quality legal representation. Our research suggests that the average deportation defense costs approximately $5,000. Other cities have also aimed for some of the funding to be used to recruit lawyers to provide pro-bono representation, which helps make sure the funding goes further and reaches more people who need it, with a goal of at least 70% of the funding going to direct representation.


As such, the following are some concrete recommendations for the budget that reflects the thousands of conversations conducted across our member congregations and partner organizations over the past year:


  • Legal Defense Fund Budget Amendment: $200,000 contribution from the City of Fresno General Fund


  • Fiscal agent: Local philanthropic foundation


  • Matching and Catalyzing Contributions: Private individuals, local businesses, philanthropic foundations, and other government entities such as the State of California and Fresno County


  • Governance: Creation of a Legal Defense Fund Steering Committee – with a representative from the Fresno City Council – to craft the details of this Fund and oversee/monitor its spending, with regular reports back to the City Council and public.



Additional Background on Legal Defense Funds:


The need for fair legal representation is demonstrated from the results of a recent study by the American Immigration Council:

  • Only 37% of immigrants have legal representation; those living in smaller cities have far less access to representation than larger cities like New York City
  • Only 14% of detained immigrants, like those held in prisons and detention centers, are able to secure legal representation
  • Only 2% of immigrants without lawyers are able to successfully avoid deportation


In response, several cities across the state and country have taken action – most recently in the City of Sacramento – by allocating funding in support of public-private Legal Defense Funds for immigrants threatened by deportation. We believe that the upcoming budget proposal represents a significant opportunity for Fresno to similarly address this concern to families and for you to affirm your commitment to truly represent those who are most vulnerable. This is not only morally right, but also fiscally responsible. According to a new study from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), undocumented immigrants paid $140 million in taxes to The Central Valley (in the form of property taxes and local sales taxes) and nearly $135.3 million in taxes to the state of California (in the form of personal income taxes and sales and excise taxes).  In Fresno County, undocumented residents contributed an estimated $56,512,200 in state and local taxes last year (ITEP).


Reports repeatedly show that access to legal representation provides immigrants with a fair opportunity in court. Therefore, Faith in Fresno clergy, faith leaders, community members, partners and allies have come together to call on the City to make an investment into a Legal Defense Fund and send a powerful message of standing with families. A Legal Defense Fund is as a compassionate and economically sensible way for the City to defend its most vulnerable and to avoid, as a recent LA Times editorial said, immigration courts from further becoming where “traffic stops can become death sentences” for poor families.

Calendar 3/29 – 5/6/2017

Thursday, March 30, 6 pm – 8:30 pm

Rapid Response Training to mobilize the community to stop deportations and support impacted communities, at On Ramps Covenant Church, World Impact Building, 1955 Broadway St, Fresno, 93721 (Enter through the fence on the north side of the building.) Based on the current executive orders, immigration enforcement will increase deportations, both in large and small scale raids. Various roles are needed for Rapid Response teams, including, but not limited to: raid verification, media team, resource and emotional support to families, prayer team, advocacy and protest, and mass communication. We can help you figure out a role that fits you. https://www.facebook.com/events/1679159339060278/

Friday, March 31, 12 noon-2:00 pm

Protest calling for a constituents meeting at Tornino’s Banquet Facility, 5080 N. Blackstone Ave. just north of Shaw. Rep. Devin Nunes will be the keynote speaker at 1:00 pm at the Ag Lenders Society 2017 Annual Meeting at Tornino’s in Fresno, but he still won’t meet with his constituents. We will be there in peaceful protest to remind him that we are his voters, and there are many issues we want to discuss with him. Bring signs that reflect your concerns and issues.

Friday, March 31, 6 pm

Trans-E-Motion will hold a rally and sidewalk march for transgender visibility and awareness at the Peace Corner of Shaw and Blackstone. Now is the time to advocate for the transgender commuity and add to the growing support toward this cause. Join us and help improve the local social climate for this resilient community. Your attendance is your support. Zoyer Zyndel at 559-464-5806

Saturday, April 1, 7:00 am – 2:00 pm

Garage sale – Cambridge Avenue Block Sale 704 E. Cambridge. Our Center for Nonviolence has been invited by Joan Hughes to use her front yard to sell books and other items during the Annual Cambridge Block Sale on Saturday, April 1st. Please come and shop and help us raise money for the Center. If you have any items that we can sell, please email angela.price41 or just bring them to the Center Mon-Fri 11 – 3, 237-3223

Saturday, April 1, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

California Environmental Justice Coalition (CEJC), Central Valley Regional Conference, 1: Air Quality. 2: Water Contamination. 3: Pesticides. 4: Fracking/Fossil Fuels. 5: Carbon Sequestration, Guest Speaker on Local Food Issues, 6: Citizen-Led Monitoring/IVAN. 7: Green Vans Program. https://cejcoalition.org/register-cejc-central-valley-regional-conference-in-fresno-april-1st-2017/ Community United Church of Christ – 5550 N. Fresno St, Fresno, Support for this project has been provided by: California Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, FREE

Monday, April 3, 6 pm

Workshop for prospective candidates – now or in the future. Democratic Party HQ (1035 U St., downtown Fresno) Learn about basic communications skills for your presentation, connecting with the media and meeting voters. Address the best ways to craft your pitch. Leading the workshop will be Lynn Badertscher, a lifelong Democrat with decades of experience teaching communication at the college/university level, including public speaking and persuasion. For more info, contact 559-495-0606 or fresnocountydemocrats

Tuesday, April 4 and Every Tuesday 11:45 am to 12:45 pm

Vigil at Devin Nunes’ Clovis Office, 3rd and Clovis Ave, hour-long quiet vigil of peaceful prayer and reflection in the pursuit of “justice, tolerance, fairness, inclusion, actions and laws that protect all people.” Although signs are welcome, we are not coming here to yell at motorists, scream, and demonstrate wildly on the sidewalks and streets. Dave and Bev Derby derby

April 4, 5:30 pm

Screening of the 80′s movie 1984 at CMAC, 1555 Van Ness, at the corner of Van Ness & Calaveras, across from Arte Americas, the screening is part of a coordinated national event to support the National Endowment for the Arts and see any attempt to scuttle that program as an attack on free speech and creative expression through entertainment. This event provides a chance for us to join with communities around the country to show our unity and have our voices heard. Limited seating, FREE

Sunday, April 9, 4 – 6 pm

Community Alliance Fundraiser/Party, Assemblyman Dr. Joaquin Arambula to speak on “Health and Healthcare”, refreshments and beverages, Eva Scow playing the mandolin, meet the Community Alliance’s new Executive Director Michael Evans and hear about his plans for the paper. Unitarian Universalist Church 2672 E. Alluvial Ave, Fresno. Tickets $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2898748 or at www.fresnoalliance.com , from any Community Alliance board member or (before April 5) by mail from Camille Russell 276-2592.

Monday, April 10, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Demonstration and Fast for Yemen at Blackstone and Nees, Fresno. Join Peace Fresno and national peace groups in calling for a humane response to the deadly tragedy facing Yemeni civilians whose country, ravaged by civil war and regularly targeted with Saudi and U.S. airstrikes, is now on the brink of famine. Hold a banner provided by Peace Fresno. Bring a sign. Stand in support. See “Yemenis Endure World’s Largest, Rapidly Worsening Humanitarian Crisis While Subject to a Sea Blockade and Constant Bombing” March 14, 2017 Kathy Kelly, http://vcnv.org/2017/03/14/yemenis-endure-worlds-largest-rapidly-worsening-humanitarian-crisis-while-subject-to-a-sea-blockade-and-constant-bombing/

Tuesday, April 11

Peace Fresno meeting. This meeting may be rescheduled due to the demonstration the night before. Contact Dan Yaseen for updated info. 251-3361 danyaseen

Thursday, April 13, 7 pm and repeated April 14 at a different location

Screening of the film 30 Seconds to Midnight and Q&A with filmmaker Regis Tremblay. http://www.globalresearch.ca/nuclear-war-thirty-seconds-to-midnight-the-final-wake-up-call/5570480 The shocking documentary traces the origins of U.S. genocides, military interventions and wars from the 15th century when the white, colonial explorers first came to the Americas to the very present. American Exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny, and the right to claim the earth and its resources as their own are the beliefs that are the foundation of American foreign policy in the 21st Century that has humanity on the brink of extinction, Unitarian Universalist Church, 2672 E. Alluvial, Fresno, angela.price41 559-304-9183 FREE

Friday, April 14, 2 pm

Screening of the film 30 Seconds to Midnight and Q&A with filmmaker Regis Tremblay. See above. Location for this screening is Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 N Van Ness Ave, (SE corner of Van Ness and McKinley across from Fresno City College.

Saturday, April 15, 12 pm to 4 pm

Annual Transgender Day of Visibility at Alliant International University, 5130 E. Clinton Way 93727 Fresno, CA. A day to show support for the transgender community. The event will feature inspirational speakers, art, singing, poetry, spoken word, dancing, and a resource fair showcasing transgender friendly organizations, food vendors, and businesses. https://www.facebook.com/Transemotion/

Saturday, April 22, 10 am – 4 pm

Earth Day & Fresno Art Museum Family Day at Radio Park, 2233 N First St, Fresno. This free green festival will feature live entertainment, educational exhibits, a commuter bike show, children’s activities, local cuisine and much more! Non-profit organizations, government agencies and local businesses will provide useful information, goods and services related to sustainable living and environmental stewardship. Free

Saturday, April 22, 3-5 pm

Fresno March for Science, Radio Park, beginning at Radio Park, 2233 N First Street, Fresno, California 93703, We are hosting our march in conjunction with the Earth Day Fresno celebration. Melissa Hager and Ashley Hughes https://www.facebook.com/events/1846823318936979/

Saturday, May 6, 5:30 pm

Fresno Center for Nonviolence 25th Anniversary Celebration and Dinner, First Congregational Church (Big Red Church), 2131 N Van Ness Blvd, Fresno. Featured speaker Kathy Kelly, international human rights activist, founder of the Chicago-based Voices for Creative Nonviolence, speaking on “Confronting State Violence at Home and Abroad,” annual Way of Peace Awards, dinner (including wine and dessert) $40, program only (7 pm) $20 or $15 student and low income. Tickets at Fresno Center for Nonviolence 1584 N Van Ness (SE corner McKinley and Van Ness) 11 am – 3 pm Mon-Fri, 237-3223.

Link to Speaking Truth to Empire radio show from March 15

Dan Yaseen’s guest, Mike Whitney lives in Washington State; he is a freelance writer, interested in politics and economics. His columns appear regularly at www.counterpunch.org Link to the interview


Saturday, Jan 21, 2-4 pm Demonstration “Organize for a Better Future”

A Post-Inaugural Street Demonstration

Hosted by Peace Fresno

Saturday, January 21, 2017, 2:00 to 4:00

All four corners of Blackstone and Nees (River Park)

On Day 2 of the Trump Presidency join Peace Fresno and others in standing up for the issues that are important to you! By our presence, with our signs and banners, we will let the community know that there are groups and individuals working together in the Fresno area dedicated to peace, social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.

Each group will represent its unique part of the community and will bring its members and message. Talk with people in groups that share your interests and concerns. Consider opportunities for working together.

There will be a handout listing the participating organizations with the mission and contact information of the each group. If you want your group to be listed contact Dan Yaseen, danyaseen, 559-251-3361


Dec 14, 6:30 pm Community Meeting-Fresno Police Dept

Black Lives Matter-Fresno has created a proposal on Fresno policing policy.

Karen Crozier, Black Lives Matter organizer, writes: We need community support to bring this proposal to the public and invite you to a presentation of the policy. Please join us and feel free to contact me if you would like a copy of the proposed policy or with any questions. Karen Croizer, revdrcroizer

Community Meeting
Dec 14, 6:30 pm
Holistic Cultural and Educational Wellness Center
4867 E. Kings Canyon Rd.

Fresno is one of the most diverse cities in the nation and the people would like to trust our law enforcement officers and leadership. We the people urge the Fresno Police Department to take a stand and become the beacon of change we would like to see in the city and nation.

Standing Rock Actions 11/7 – 11/11 4 pm & Petition

Jean Hays of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom writes:

I’m inviting anyone interested to stand with me every day this week, starting Monday, at Blackstone & Shaw 4-4:45 p.m. Other 1st Nations people from the rally @ City Hall will try to join.  All are invited! We will hold the banner -


The Raging Grannies are also planning an action in front of a financial institution that funds the pipeline. There are many of them.  Stay tuned! Jean  skyhorse3593


“People came out in Fresno on September 4, 2016 to support Standing Rock Sioux land and water protectors resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline.” Image by Richard D. Iyall , Cowlitz

Standing Rock’s Dakota Access Pipeline resistance is connected to militarization of U.S. police, racism, and civil rights in the supporting information.

PETITION - “Justice for Standing Rock”