LIBRE serves San Mateo County immigrant communities.  Many immigrants do not apply for government benefits because they think receiving benefits will affect their immigration options, or expose their family to negative consequences.  LIBRE aims to educate our immigrant community about the different safety net services available, link them to specific agencies in their communities that can assist them with the enrollment process, and provide accurate information concerning their immigration options.   LIBRE also provides limited immigration representation and assistance, including consultations and assistance with VAWA, U VISA, and SIJS for teen parents and their families and other vulnerable immigrants.

LIBRE is a collaborative project comprised of trusted community partners including the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, Redwood City 2020, Nuestra Casa, Coastside Hope, the Belle Haven Community School, the Redwood City Community Schools, and the San Mateo County Human Services Agency. We work with three assistor locations - JobTrain in Menlo Park, Coastside Hope in El Granada and the Fair Oaks Community Center in Redwood City - to provide holistic client services.  LIBRE provides legal advice and representation related to:

  • Medi-Cal

  • CalFresh (food stamps)

  • CalWORKs

  • Social Security/SSI/CAPI

  • U Visa (immigration relief for crime survivors)

  • VAWA (Violence Against Women Act)

  • SIJS (immigration relief for minor survivors of parental abuse, neglect, or abandonment)

  • Certain other immigration cases

You can arrange to meet with a LIBRE attorney by calling 650-517-8936 to schedule an appointment.

If you need help applying for Public Benefits you can go to one of our Assistors Locations:

East Palo Alto/Belle Haven @ Job Train
1200 O'Brian Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Redwood City @ Fair Oaks Community Center
2600 Middlefield Road
Redwood City, CA 94063

Half Moon Bay @ Coastside Hope
99 Avenue Alhambra
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Teen Parents Immigration Aid

Legal Aid’s Teen Parents’ Project provides confidential answers to teen parents’ questions as well as legal representation and advice, and teens are welcome to call just to ask questions. We help abused teens apply for immigration relief such as U Visas for themselves and their families, Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  Legal Aid keeps all information confidential – which means that we will not tell anyone what our teen clients tell us unless they give us permission or tell us they are planning to commit a serious crime that could hurt someone else.

Unsure about the new Public Charge rules and how they may affect you? Try our new Public Charge screening tool. Click below.


Public Charge Update

Update September 24, 2019: In August, the Department of Homeland Security announced that on October 15th 2019, it will officially change the longstanding “Public Charge” policy that affects people applying for green cards in the U.S. through family members. The public charge policy does NOT apply to immigrants applying for humanitarian relief programs like asylum, U-visas, T-visas, or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The new rule expands the list of federally funded benefits that count for the public charge test but does NOT include emergency-only Medi-Cal, pregnancy-related Medi-Cal, Medi-Cal for children under 21, or any state funded benefits. Most immigrants who face a public charge test do not qualify for the benefits that count. However, the final rule is having a chilling effect on immigrant families who are disenrolling from benefits even when getting benefits does not affect their immigration options.

Seven lawsuits have been filed to challenge this new public charge policy. LASSMC is a plaintiff in one case. Unless enjoined, the new policy adds the use of federally funded, non-emergency/pregnancy-related Medi-Cal by adults 21 or older, federally funded, CalFresh (food stamps), and federally funded housing programs to the list of benefits considered to determine if an immigrant applying for permanent residence through a family member should be denied as likely to become a “public charge.” A federal district court in Oakland will hear plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction on October 2nd.

Update August 29, 2019: Department of Homeland Security announced that it will officially change the longstanding “Public Charge” policy that affects people applying for green cards in the U.S. Thanks to hundreds of thousands of public comments, the final rule does NOT count the use of Medi-Cal by children under 21 or pregnant women or the use of Medicare Part D subsidies in the public charge determination. The rule also does NOT affect immigrants applying for humanitarian relief programs (Asylum, U-visas, T-visas, Special Immigrant Juvenile, etc.) or people getting Emergency-only or state funded Medi-Cal (other than for long-term care). However, the final rule still makes it harder for low and moderate income families to immigrate, which harms immigrants, their families, and our communities. Note: The DHS change will not take effect until October 15.

We’re analyzing the final rule & helping the effort to fight back.

For the most current information visit and make sure to follow us on social media to get updates automatically.

Update June 26, 2019: The Trump Administration has not yet adopted proposed regulations that would punish immigrants for accessing basic needs programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance. Until formally adopted, there are no changes to “public charge” immigration rules. Go to for more information or see brochure:


Update October 10, 2018: The Trump administration has just posted a proposed regulation that would punish immigrants for accessing basic needs programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance. We can all do something TODAY to Protect Families. Your comments are the one way to stop this. Go to We have 60 days to submit our objections.


How can you protect your family and yourself from ICE? MAPA

Here are 4 easy steps for you to act on NOW. Download MAPA for easy access!

  1. In case of ICE contact or sightings, call the Rapid Response hotline at 1-203-666-4472.

  2. Know your rights. Keep the red card handy at all times.

  3. Have a plan for you and your family in case someone is detained.

  4. Contact an immigration attorney about your legal options before speaking or signing anything.

LIBRE Partners

Belle Haven Community School
(650) 330-2274
K-8 Elementary School within the Ravenswood City School District serving students in East Palo Alto and Northern Menlo Park - the Belle Haven Neighborhood.


Coastside Hope
(650) 726-9071
Core Service Center serving El Granada, Half Moon Bay, Miramar, Montara, & Moss Beach


Nuestra Casa
(650) 330-7482
Community education organization dedicated to increasing civic participation and promoting economic self-sustainability of the Latino immigrant population of East Palo Alto and the area served by the Ravenswood City School District.


Redwood City 2020
(650) 423-2207
A collaboration involving 8 public and nonprofit organizations that serve children, youth and families that live in Redwood City and unincorporated North Fair Oaks.


San Mateo Human Services Agency
(650) 802-7500

You can read more about LIBRE at the program's website: or by calling (650) 517-8936.

Legal Aid would like to thank the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, San Mateo County Health Care for the Homeless/Farmworker Health Program of the San Mateo County Medical Center, the Heising-Simons Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Program, the Grove Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, AT&T, and individual donors for their funding support of LIBRE.