EBSC provides legal and social services, community organizing, and transformative education to support low-income immigrants and people fleeing violence and persecution.
We envision a world where immigrant and human rights are respected.
Community-led services – All of our programs have evolved in direct response to the needs and requests of low-income immigrants and asylum seekers. We focus on the voices and stories of the people we serve and seek to build community.
Radical inclusion – We focus our work on historically marginalized communities, including Indigenous people, LGBTQ+ people, unaccompanied minors, and survivors of gender-based violence. Our diverse staff serves all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other social status.
Roots in the Sanctuary Movement – EBSC was founded in 1982 by religious congregations that risked incarceration to stand up against U.S. government complicity and military intervention in Central American civil wars. We strive to emulate these founders who recognized the humanity of people fleeing horrific violence, offered safety where the government failed to do so, and made a covenant to protect, support, and advocate for the refugees.
Accessible legal services – We believe that all people deserve accessible legal services. We don’t turn people away for lack of funds. We walk alongside our clients, representing them all the way: from asylum application, to residency, to citizenship. We work to make complex legal processes accessible to individuals, regardless of their education level, language capacity, or disability. We create safe spaces where people feel comfortable and don’t need to engage in the code-switching required by the “outside” world. We offer culturally relevant services, including interpretation in various spoken and signed languages.
Healing from trauma – Many times, EBSC is the first place people contact to risk attempting to obtain legal status. Most people are moving through enormous trauma while they courageously take these first steps. We provide mental health and community-building resources whenever we can and offer trauma-informed training to our staff and volunteers. We collaborate closely with OLAS, a mental health and community support program for LGBTQ+ asylees.
Justice on individual and policy levels – We use all the tools available to us to support every person’s right to safety and protection, including raising community voices to advocate at local, state, and federal levels. We also act as plaintiffs in lawsuits against discriminatory policies and we take to the streets to support causes that align with our values. We challenge prejudice, narratives and policies that scapegoat immigrants of color or say, “Only immigrants who came here the ‘right’ way deserve a chance.”
Service for the whole person – We try to support any person who contacts us, whether they call or walk in our door. When we don’t have the capacity to provide direct services to an individual, we connect with them personally and offer practical referrals.
Transformation of unbearable conditions – We have a long history of solidarity with grassroots human-rights work in Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and other countries where poor human-rights records force their citizens to flee. We recognize the impact of negative U.S. government interference in other countries and strive to support groups that have been working locally to transform conditions in these countries.