Our Approach

The Immigrant Family Defense Fund (IFDF) is a new non-profit project that leverages trusted school-based networks to help parents and children facing the threat of deportation access qualified legal and community resources, and help those in immigration detention get released on bond. IFDF has launched a pilot program in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). If successful, IFDF will seek to replicate this program in other school districts in California and across the country.

We support immigrant families in Oakland through the following:

Legal Access

We leverage trusted school-based networks to connect immigrant families to qualified legal resources. Our network of teachers and parent volunteers work with Oakland-based legal service and community organizations to ensure students and their families have accurate information regarding their rights under current city, state and federal law, and any changes in those laws as they happen. We work with OUSD leadership to make families aware of OUSD’s sanctuary policies and connect families in need of legal representation to qualified attorneys. We do this through school-based workshops and legal clinics, mailings and phone/text banking. 

Immigration Bond

We are piloting a first-of-a-kind school-based immigration bond fund in Oakland, California.  Any OUSD student, parent or sibling can access the fund if detained by ICE. Families either contact the fund directly after learning about our services through a school-based workshop/legal clinic, or are referred by the district or one of our legal services partners. These bonds are refunded when the case concludes – regardless of outcome. All that is required is that the individual released on bond appear at all scheduled court hearings. Once the bond is refunded, those resources are available to help cover the bond cost of other OUSD families in need.

Community Support


We pair every family with a volunteer case manager – another Oakland parent or teacher with experience navigating the immigration bond system. The case manager helps remind the family of all scheduled immigration hearings, provides transportation assistance if needed, and helps connect the family to other legal, mental health or community resources they might need.