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Thursday, September 4, 2014

San Francisco's Sanctuary City Policy Working for Central American Youth

Posted By on Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 4:44 PM

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Earlier today, San Francisco's Health Director announced that some 500 Central American refugee kids would make San Francisco their home by next year. 

And we plan on welcoming each one of them under the city's Sanctuary City program, which creates a safe haven for illegal immigrants. They'll get access to health care, schools, and other city services. 

Garcia points our that many of these kids will need mental health care after enduring extreme poverty and strife in their home countries while being torn apart from their families.

"Our community agencies serving the mental health needs of unaccompanied children and youth are stretched beyond capacity and need all the help they can get from the City," Supervisor Campos told SF Weekly. "We are grateful to Director Garcia for committing resources to help these children, so many of whom are suffering trauma."

Garcia is partnering with the Mayor's office, the San Francisco Unified School District, the Board of Supervisors, along with other City and community organizations to provide aid to the influx of new youth. The Department of Health will provide mental health training and support to organizations that deal with and support these youth.

Supervisor Campos noted that safety isn't limited to health. The other huge need right now is ensuring that these unaccompanied minors have legal representation when they go to immigration court, Campos said. "I have introduced a supplemental budget this week seeking $1.2 million to provide free legal services to all immigrant children in expedited removal proceedings that are living in San Francisco." 

In addition, the Department is offering an online resource guide providing information as to where these immigrants and their families can turn for help. They can also get help by calling 311. 
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