Initiatives

SAFE Initiative

Driving the Movement for Universal Representation

Who we are

The SAFE Initiative (Safety & Fairness for Everyone) is a unique collaboration among governments, immigration legal service providers, and advocates working together to build a movement for universal representation—a public defender system for all immigrants facing deportation. SAFE has catalyzed momentum for local- and state-funded deportation defense and driven a national movement toward federal systemic change.

We believe that every person facing deportation is entitled to legal representation regardless of income, race, national origin, or history with the criminal legal system. Yet, there is currently no right to appointed counsel in immigration court. Our goal is to lay the foundational blocks that make federally mandated universal representation a reality.

Driving a national movement

Buoyed by our growing coalition of partners, the SAFE Initiative has charted a powerful course toward national systemic change. Prior to SAFE, locally funded deportation defense programs existed in only two states. Today, including the 21 SAFE Partner sites, there are more than 40 jurisdictions across 18 states funding such programs. These programs also enjoy widespread public support and are a commonsense solution that will ensure that everyone is treated with basic fairness.

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