Immigrant Rights Commission Meeting
City Hall - Room 416
January 12, 2009
Commissioner Jamal Dajani (Chair) convened the meeting at 5:35 p.m.
I. Roll Call
Members Present: Jamal Dajani (Chair), Gilberto Alexander, Greg Chew, Elahe Enssani, Felix Fuentes, Vera Haile, Solomon Jones, , Angus McCarthy, Alan Mok, Sam Ng, Chris Punongbayan and Rael Silva
Members Absent:, Jay Gonzalez (excused) and Toye Moses (excused)
II. Approval of Minutes
Commission approved the minutes of the December meeting.
III. Public Comments: No public comment.
A. Richard Fazlohhali:
Mr. Fazlohhali informed the Commission that his mother, Shamsi Khajehnouri, 73 years old and a permanent resident of US since 2002. In June 2007 Ms. Khajehnouri had to go back to Iran to visit her mother because her mom was very sick. The condition of her mom got worse and unfortunately, after so much suffering, her mom passed away. Since Ms. Khajehnouri was the oldest child in the family, she needed to stay back to make the funeral arrangement for her mom. Ms. Khajehnouri had planned to return back to the United States in May 2008 to apply for her US citizenship. However, Ms. Khajehnouri fell down and injured her coccyx bone that was so painful that she could not even sit and had to cancel her return trip to the US until she got the permission from her Doctor that she could do so.
On November 24, 2008 Ms. Khajehnouri returned back to the US. After all inspections, Inspector Corazon Hunt of the US customs and Border Protection asked Ms. Khajehnouri many questions. Ms. Khajehnouri was tired and stressed out after 26 hours of flight and she could not focus to answer. In addition, her English is not good enough to understand and answer properly. Inspector Hunt contacted the family and informed that he decided to revoke her permanent resident status because Ms. Khajehnouri stayed longer than one year out of the United States. Ms. Khajehnouri did not receive the appropriate interpretation service to explain to the officer of the whole story. Ms. Khajehnouri came back to the USCIS San Francisco District office located on Sansome Street the very next day but the USCIS insisted that her permanent resident card had been revoked. On December 2008, Ms. Khajehnouri received the request to appear before the US Immigration Judge in San Francisco regarding the removal proceedings.
Mr. Fazlohhali strongly believed that his mother, Ms. Khajehnouri was not being treated fairly by the USCIS staff according to the immigration law and regulations. Mr. Fazlohhali asked the Commission to support his mother’s case and issue a letter to request the USCIS to review the case of Ms. Khajehnouri.
The Commission asked Commissioner McCarthy and the Immigration Reform Committee to draft the letter of support for the case and present it to the full Commission for approval at the next Commission meeting.
B. Update on the Municipal ID Card Program
Commissioner Fuentes provided the most update regarding the municipal ID card program. According to Commissioner Fuentes, on 01/15/09, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano will launch the San Francisco City ID Card program, which offers San Francisco residents a photo identification card that streamlines access to city programs and connects residents to local businesses.
The ID card will make it easier for all San Franciscans to see a doctor, open a bank account, and enroll their kids in preschool. The SF City ID Card program is modeled after the successful program started in New Haven, Connecticut in July 2007. All city agencies will accept the card as proof of identity and residency.
V. EAS Revision Update
Tomas Lee, Director of the Office of Languages Services informed the Commission of the latest development regarding the EAS. As of now, the community advocates decided at the meeting on December 10th in Chinatown to ask newly elected Supervisor David Chiu to be the key sponsor to introduce the legislation in enhancing the AES Ordinance. In the process, the community will ask other Supervisors to be the co-sponsors of the legislation. The Community advocates will work closely with the Program & Access Committee in the effort.
VI. Revised Summary Report of the Neighborhood Meeting in Mission
The Commission approved unanimously the draft of the Summary Report of the Neighborhood Meeting in Mission.
Ms. Adrienne Pon, Executive Director of the newly created Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affair provided the brief update of the transition process. The Immigrant Rights Commission would be part of the Office. Ms. Pon gave a brief introduction of her background. She was born and raised in San Francisco. She was a product of the public schools. After graduating from prestigious Lowell high school, she earned a B.S. in Health Science from San Francisco State and went on to receive an MA in Public policy from Golden Gate University.
While in college, she landed a job at Pacific Bell and was attracted to its corporate policy emphasizing community relations. Her years in the private sector, mostly at Pacific Bell/SBC, include developing funding projects focused on relevant and innovative uses of technology, such as Women and Girls Tech Up!, and the Asian American/Pacific Islanders Future Communities Project.
A strong believer in building networks to increase community access to resources, tools, training and decision-making, Ms. Pon has been active in numerous civic and community organizations, cutting her nonprofit volunteer teeth with children's rights and childcare advocacy organizations. Appointed to the San Francisco Civil Service Commission in 1993, she recently completed an unprecedented 10 years of service spanning two mayoral administrations, including four consecutive terms as president and two as vice president.
She currently serves on the boards of the San Francisco League of Women Voters, the Asian Law Caucus, and the Community Technology Policy Council. Ms. Pon will work closely with the City Administrator’s Office, staff of the Commission and the Office of Language Services to ensure the smooth transition. She will provide more detail information to the Commission in the days ahead. Ms. Pon also announced that the annual Commission retreat will take place on Saturday, January 24, 2009 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at One South Van Ness – 2nd floor Conference Center.
VIII. Director’s Report
1. Letter to City Departments regarding 2009 EAS Annual Compliance Report
The 2009 EAS Annual Compliance Plan will be due by the end of February 2009. A letter sent out to the city departments regarding the due date of 2009 EAS Annual Compliance Plan.
2. EAS Revision
According to Tomas Lee of the Office Language Services (OLS), some of the new elected members of the Board of Supervisors indicated their strong interest in sponsoring the legislation to enhance the current EAS Ordinance. The community advocates will ask Supervisor David Chiu to be the key sponsor of the legislation. The other Supervisors will be asked to sign on as the co-sponsors.
3. Draft Summary report for the neighborhood meeting in Richmond
Staff will present the draft of the summary report of the neighborhood meeting in Richmond to the Commission for approval at the February meeting.
4. Annual Report
Staff will submit the draft of the Annual Report to the Executive Committee at the end of January 2009 for their review and approval.
IX. Committee Report
a. Executive Committee
The tentatively date for the next meeting of the Committee will be Wednesday, January 28, 2009.
b. Program & Access Committee
The next meeting of the Program & Access Committee will take place on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
c. Outreach Committee
The Outreach Committee will work with staff to complete the summary report of the neighborhood meeting in Richmond and submit it to the Commission for review and approval at the February 9th meeting.
Commissioner Haile moved to adjourn, and Commissioner Alexander seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m.