EBSC provides legal 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.
We are community-led. All of our programs have evolved in direct response to the needs and requests of low-income immigrants and asylum seekers. We center the voices and stories of the people we serve and seek to build community.
We practice radical inclusion and 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.
We honor our 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.
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. In our walk-in clinic, we create a safe space 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.
We honor people’s need to heal from trauma. Many times, EBSC is the first place people 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 LGBT asylees.
We fight for justice on individual and policy levels. We counter prejudice and narratives that scapegoat immigrants of color. We use all the tools available to us to support every person’s right to safety and protection, including raising community voices to advocate for themselves at local, state and federal levels; acting as plaintiffs in lawsuits against discriminatory policies; and taking to the streets to support causes that align with our values. We challenge narratives and policies that say, “Only immigrants who came here the ‘right’ way deserve a chance.”
We strive to serve 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.
We work in solidarity in seeking to transform the conditions that cause people to flee their home countries. We have a long history of solidarity with grassroots human rights work in Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and other countries whose 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.