With Provisional Measure Now Permanent, Noncitizen Parents Can Vote in SF’s School Board Recall Election

San Francisco residents who are not citizens but are parents may vote in school board elections, including the upcoming recall election that could remove three members of the board. The Board of Supervisors in October made this enfranchisement, originally enacted through a 2016 ballot measure and scheduled to sunset in 2022, permanent.  

Local Veterans Reflect on ‘Moral Obligation’ to Afghans

After the Taliban took over the Afghan government, a massive evacuation effort began, but thousands are still waiting at the airport in Kabul. Tyler Solorio, an Army veteran deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and a policy analyst for the veterans nonprofit Swords to Plowshares, said the U.S. government has made it dangerously complicated for Afghans to get out.

Evacuees from Afghanistan arrive at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, on an aircraft crewed by Air National Guard members on Aug. 23, 2021.

Organizers Rush to Help Afghan Refugees in Bay Area

Thousands are fleeing Afghanistan in fear of violent reprisals from the Taliban, which captured the nation in a matter of days after the U.S. began withdrawing its troops. Farhad Yousafzai said refugees are arriving in the Bay Area from Afghanistan in dire need of everything — a place to stay, a shower, health care, a change of clothes for the first time in 10 days. 

A woman stands against a wall holding a copy of Solito, Solita, a book about border-crossing youth.

US Policy Frustrates Honduran Immigrant Who Crossed Border at 14

Vice President Kamala Harris visited the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday to tour a detention facility and meet with people who have made the journey to the United States.

For San Francisco resident Soledad Castillo, who left her home country of Honduras at age 14 to cross the border, the vice president’s visit and her previous statements on immigration have been frustrating.

Courtesy of Free Burma Action Committee.

S.F. Organizer Sees Repetition of Brutal History in Myanmar Military Coup

When Ko Ko Lay has managed to speak to his 86-year-old mother living in Myanmar under a military regime, she has told him she cannot sleep through the night. Like many civilians, she fears armed nighttime raids. “They are so worried about one day some security forces will come and will break through their door, and and they’re going to torture, and they’re going to kill,” Lay said. 

On Feb. 1, after a democratic election, Myanmar military forces seized control of the government and declared a year-long state of emergency. Civilians have been protesting that takeover, and the military has responded with deadly use of force, killing hundreds, including at least 40 children.

Francisco Ugarte, managing attorney of the San Francisco Public Defender's immigration defense unit, holds a banner with the late Public Defender Jeff Adachi at a community rally for immigrants' rights in 2018.

S.F. Immigration Defense Unit Represents Immigrants Statewide Through Pandemic

San Francisco’s office of the public defender has a unit dedicated to defending immigrants in court. In most states, they often have no representation because there is no right to counsel in immigration cases. Francisco Ugarte, managing attorney of this unit, talked with “Civic” about how handoffs between agencies work and what happens to someone who is arrested by immigration enforcement in San Francisco, as well as a class action suit the unit helped litigate over COVID-19 outbreaks in detention facilities.

Immigration Attorney: Rapid Deportations a New Facet of Old Policy

In October, officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement — ICE — began implementing an expansion of rapid deportations, in which undocumented immigrants may be removed from the country without a hearing before an immigration judge. While such deportations have been conducted for decades, the new policy expands who might be affected.

‘Unforgetting’ Confronts Painful Personal, Political Histories of U.S. and Central America

Difficult and painful history connects gang violence and severe policing in Central America and in the United States, as well as mass migrations of refugees. In his new memoir, “Unforgetting,” Roberto Lovato teases out these connections with research and reporting, but also by telling his own story of coming of age as a U.S.-born child of Salvadoran parents and the stories of his family and friends. Lovato, born and raised in San Francisco, is an educator, journalist and writer. His book “Unforgetting” will be released Sept. 1.