The Safety & Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Network

What is the SAFE Network?

Launched in 2017, the Safety & Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Network was created to counter the urgent injustices that people facing detention and deportation experience because they do not have the right to a public defender to ensure that they receive a fair trial.

SAFE is a unique collaboration among governments, immigration legal service providers, and advocates working together to build and implement publicly funded universal representation programs at the local and state levels.

These programs are grounded in a vision of universal representation: the belief that every person facing deportation should be entitled to high-quality legal representation regardless of income, race, national origin, prior history with the criminal legal system, or the nature of their defense. Vera supports the launch, growth, and sustainability of these programs through a range of resources and technical assistance.

SAFE utilizes a four-pronged approach for expanding justice and fairness for immigrant communities:

  • Build a critical mass of publicly funded programs at the local and state level to drive momentum for federal change and develop the infrastructure needed to implement universal representation at scale.
  • Generate evidence and proof points of the transformative impact and feasibility of universal representation.
  • Create narrative change and develop public champions in support of universal representation.
  • Support community-led advocacy and campaigns to build momentum for universal representation and advance systemic change.

Since its launch, SAFE has demonstrated the power and influence of local leadership with sustainable, successful programs that have continued to expand over time. This success has cascaded to the state and regional levels, inspiring similar programs with increasingly broad reach. SAFE’s goal is to leverage this local and state leadership to drive federal change, establishing a federal right to representation through the Fairness to Freedom campaign.

Because representation alone is not enough to mitigate the systemic issues and structural racism pervasive throughout the detention and deportation system, Vera is working alongside partners to end immigration detention, end the criminalization of immigrants, and shrink the pipeline between the criminal legal and immigration systems.

More than 55 jurisdictions, including 10 states, publicly fund deportation defense across the country, demonstrating the feasibility of these policies.
35 percent of SAFE clients have won the right to remain in the United States.
43 percent of detained SAFE clients secured freedom with the help of their attorney.

SAFE Network Partner Sites

SAFE builds and advances a coordinated movement of local and state deportation defense programs that advance meaningful and effective policies promoting dignity, safety, and due process for immigrants and our communities. This map depicts the SAFE Networks programs nationwide fighting for universal representation at the state and local level.

SAFE is Expanding!

Our membership is expanding to better harness the momentum and collective expertise of the more than 55 local and state jurisdictions that fund deportation defense. SAFE supports the growth and expansion of strong, sustainable, and values-driven programs through technical assistance and programming, research and data empowerment, and advocacy support. In our work and through our partnerships, we strive to advance and embody our team's values of equity & inclusion, transformation, community, accountability, and solidarity.

Click the link below for more information about membership benefits, the application process, and our values.

Join the SAFE Network

Fairness to Freedom Campaign

The Vera Institute of Justice and the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) have launched a campaign to push for legislation that establishes a universal right to federally funded legal representation for anyone facing deportation.

Learn more
Contact Us
Elizabeth (Liz) Kenney Associate Director, SAFE Network
Zameena Mejia Communications Manager