What We Do

The East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC) provides sanctuary–support, protection, and advocacy–to low-income and indigent refugees and immigrants. EBSC’s work primarily consists of two programs: the Refugee Rights Program and the Community Development and Education program.

Refugee Rights

EBSC’s largest program is our Refugee Rights Program (RRP). Through this program, we provide refugees and immigrants with a variety of low cost or free legal services. We are one of the few organizations in the Bay Area to offer walk-in service as well as service by appointment. We provide assistance to refugees from all over the world with asylum. We also provide our clients with other types of immigration assistance: help renewing work permits, applying for travel documents, adjusting status (from asylum seeker, to resident, to citizen), and answering countless questions.

With our small but hard-working staff and countless volunteers, EBSC annually handles: over five hundred Affirmative Asylum cases, one hundred Employment Authorization cases, two hundred Adjustment of Status cases, and one hundred Naturalization cases. In addition, EBSC handles one thousand Temporary Protected Status cases bi-annually. Typically, over 97% of our clients are granted asylum.

Community Development and Education

The goal of our educational programs is to educate our clients and to assist them in advocating for their own rights. Manuel De Paz, director of our Community Development and Education program (CDE), organizes leadership workshops, free informational workshops on a variety of topics, and provides referrals for housing, jobs and education. In addition, CDE sponsors an ESL (English as a Second Language) program for indigenous Guatemalans.