Who are we
FREE SF represents the joining of the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee (SFIRDC) and the San Francisco Progressive Criminal Justice Network. We are a coalition of organizations advocating for community safety, transformative justice, immigrant rights, and self-determination. Our member organizations include:
Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
Faith in Action (FIA)
Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)
We work to achieve the following goals:
safety from state-sanctioned violence
healing from the trauma of that violence
full access and inclusion in the life of our communities and
respect for the rights and well-being of all community members.
We strive to stop deportations and end mass incarceration.
We use our diverse skills and organizational expertise along with our community power to advocate for policies to uphold our values of equality, safety, and justice in the city and county of San Francisco.
We focus on immigrant rights, language access, and a reorientation of the criminal justice system towards restorative and transformative justice that will keep all of our communities safer.
The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee (SFIRDC) was a coalition of organizations that advocated for immigrant rights, founded in the wake of misleading policy attacks against San Francisco's pro-immigrant policies in 2008.
Our work was motivated by the issues we witnessed in our immigrant communities in San Francisco. We used our diverse skills and organizational expertise along with our community power to advocate for policies to uphold our values of equality and immigrant justice in the city and county of San Francisco. On a larger level, we aimed to set a precedent for other cities and counties across the country.
Awards & Honors: In the Spring of 2012, SFIRDC was honored by the National Lawyers Guild- SF Bay
SFIRDC organized several major events in 2009 to shift the city’s policy debate, including a 600-person town hall in Feb 2009. In late 2009, the coalition successfully passed a “Due Process for Youth” policy to limit “reporting” (before the Secure Communities "S-Comm" Program) of minors to ICE to only those found to have committed a felony, overcoming a mayoral veto with an 8-3 vote. The policy has drastically reduced youth deportations.
The group also won one of the state’s first modified car impoundment policies that year.
In spring 2010, when Secure Communities Enforcement Program (S-Comm) suddenly emerged on the scene, the coalition led the charge for San Francisco to request to “opt out,” standing with then-Sheriff Hennessey and a 9-2 margin on the board. These efforts helped spark the campaign for the TRUST Act, 2011- present.
SFIRDC successfully passed a slightly amended “Due Process for All” ordinance with an unprecedented 11-0 Board vote. The policy bans ICE holds in all but a small handful of cases and is thus much more expansive than the 2009 standard. Hundreds mobilized for the Board Meetings, and in the end, the group's advocacy, driven by the voices of directly impacted community members, won the support of not only the DA, Public Defender, DV Groups, and Sheriff, but even the Chief and Mayor who had opposed.
With the advent of the Priority Enforcement (PEP) Program, FREE SF worked with Supervisor John Avalos to successfully update San Francisco's Due Process & Sanctuary City Ordinances to protect our immigrant communities against ever-evolving ICE tactics. The updates ensured that local law enforcement stayed out of the business of deportation by prohibiting the release of personal information including a person's release date & time from jail as well as information such as their home or work address to ICE except under extremely limited circumstances. The updates were approved unanimously by the board and signed by the Mayor shortly after.