San Francisco Officials, Supporters Rally for Immigrant Legal Defense Funds

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Supporters of a proposal to fund legal representation for immigrants facing deportation rallied at San Francisco’s City Hall Dec. 6 in the face of opposition from the mayor’s office to key provisions.

Supervisor David Campos last month introduced legislation that would provide around $5 million a year toward legal representation for immigrants in deportation proceedings, with around half that amount directed toward the public defender’s office and half to community nonprofits.

The legislation came in the wake of vows by city officials to defend San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies from anti-immigrant policies at the federal level and increased deportations following the election of Donald Trump as president.

Trump has said he plans to deport an estimated 3 million immigrants with criminal records, and has also threatened to withhold federal funding from cities with sanctuary city policies, which limit local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Despite the display of unity among elected officials after Trump’s election, however, Campos’ proposal has run into opposition due to its inclusion of funding for the public defender’s office.

Community-based organizations currently receive $3.8 million from the city, according to the mayor’s press office.

Mayor Ed Lee supports funding for legal services for immigrants and plans to address the needs of community based nonprofits for increased outreach and rapid response needs in a budget rebalancing plan to be released this week, according to his spokeswoman Deirdre Hussey.

“The administration supports funding community-based organizations, who are already doing this work and have a track-record of success, to expand their services to deal with the current and anticipated needs,” Hussey said in a statement. “They have built up years of trust and good-will with communities, and have the knowledge and infrastructure in place to best address the anticipated needs.”

By Kristina Houck for San Francisco Patch
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