San Mateo County Launches New Office of Immigrant Support
Belmont, CA- San Mateo County is proud to announce the new Office of Immigrant Support and Coordination (OISC). Thanks to the leadership of the County’s Board of Supervisors President Warren Slocum and the County Manager’s Office, under the oversight of the Human Services Agency (HSA), the office has been launched to coordinate available resources and services to all immigrants in the county and to manage projects that would enhance these residents’ transitions into their communities.
Over 250,000 residents of San Mateo County are born outside the United States, of which 108,000 are not U.S. citizens. The County offers various social and health related services to legal immigrants and collaborative partnerships established with non-profit providers offer services to both legal and undocumented residents.
“We are blessed to live in such a diverse community where our immigrants make so many wonderful contributions to our communities.” said Board President Warren Slocum, “The immigrants in our county are our neighbors, friends, and co-workers and our goal is to welcome and support all of our residents.”
As part of the launch, the office has a new website http://hsa.smcgov.org/oisc which provides extensive information on available ESL classes, legal services resources, and social services available to immigrant residents within the county. A partnership with the County Library network will install Citizenship Corners, where immigrants can get information on how to apply for citizenship, as well as DVD’s, flash cards, and other study materials. Materials are made available free of charge by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and demonstrate a unique collaboration between the County and the federal immigration entity. East Palo Alto and Foster City libraries are currently piloting this service, with the goal of making one available in each of the county libraries. Photos (attached) are of the first Citizenship Corner at East Palo Alto Library, and show (L-R) USCIS Immigration Service Officer Martha Casillas, USCIS Community Relations Officer Lucee Rosemarie Phan, Board President Warren Slocum, and OISC Coordinator Jasmine Hartenstein.
At the center of the new office is Jasmine Hartenstein, who previously managed over 300 refugee and immigrant cases directly, and has experience in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), creating community outreach materials, and collaborating with CBOs to plan and host citizenship application events.
HSA has partnered with the International Institute of the Bay Area to host several citizenship workshops. The new collaboration conducted direct outreach to legal resident clients about the potential $680 fee waiver towards their citizenship application and was recognized by Stanford University as an innovative best practice model (http://newamericanscampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/HSA-Partnership-Toolkit-web.pdf).
HSA has promoted the events to over 3500 clients, which have attracted 764 attendees to receive free legal consultations thus far. As a result of those efforts, 395 clients have completed applications for U.S. citizenship. HSA hosted their third workshop last month in March and is planning to host the next one on the coast this summer.