Just over a month before Donald Trump became the country’s president-elect on Tuesday, an elementary school student in San Francisco penned a letter imbued with the fear of deportation that has since come closer to becoming a reality.
“When I heard [Trump was running] I was so mad [because] if he wins my parents have to go to Peru,” the 10-year-old student of a school in the Outer Mission wrote. “Maybe me, too.”
Those fears may manifest in the coming years after the astonishing national decision Tuesday night to usher Trump into the White House. The reality television star and businessman has pledged to begin mass-deportations of undocumented immigrants and eliminate federal funding for sanctuary cities across the nation beginning on his first day in office Jan. 20.
Those pledges appear to put San Francisco in a bind emotionally and financially, and sporadic protests have sprung up at San Francisco State University, the Castro and along Market Street since Tuesday night, as well as in the East Bay.
Meanwhile, city officials are concerned about the more than $1 billion in annual federal funding that San Francisco would lose if Trump makes good on his promise to cancel all federal support for sanctuary cities.
As a sanctuary city, law enforcement and city employees in San Francisco are limited or otherwise prohibited from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The issue came to a head earlier in Trump’s campaign when an undocumented immigrant who had previously been in custody allegedly shot and killed a woman named Kate Steinle on Pier 14.
“He’s going to use the power of presidency and the power of money to punish us,” said Supervisor David Campos, who represents the historically Latino Mission District. “There are different ways in which he can withhold different types of funding.”
Citing the Controller’s Office, Supervisor Aaron Peskin said that San Francisco directly receives $478 million a year from the federal government and another $915 million annually from the state — much of which is federal money.
That does not include federal funds for major transportation projects like the Central Subway from Market Street to Chinatown, Peskin said.
When asked whether Trump would cancel federal funding for San Francisco in one sweeping motion, Supervisor John Avalos responded, “It’s possible.”
“He’s erratic enough to do or not to do it until he suddenly does it,” Avalos said in a text message.
Trump’s vows have spread fear throughout the immigrant population in San Francisco, including at International High School in the Mission District on Wednesday morning.
International High is a public school for recent immigrant students, a majority of whom are undocumented and from Central American countries like Mexico and Guatemala, according to Principal Julie Kessler.
“There’s a very real fear for many of our undocumented students that what they had predicted for their future has changed overnight,” Kessler said. “There are a lot of questions about ‘What is going to happen to me?’ ‘What is going to happen to my parents?’ ‘Am I going to be deported?’”
Gabriel Medina, policy manager at the Mission Economic Development Agency, which works with immigrant and other low-income families, said he watched the election results with undocumented immigrants who became sick and went home.
“I’ve seen undocumented families go into hiding, have anxiety, go into depression,” Medina said. “They feel that they live in a country that rejects them and they don’t they live in a city that values them.”
But Medina said the passing of Proposition N, which allows undocumented parents to vote in local school board elections, proves that The City supports undocumented families.
“San Francisco stands apart from misogyny, xenophobia and racism and rejects that and to the contrary we’re among many millions of people who don’t stand with that type of hate rhetoric,” Medina said. “That’s not what we value here in San Francisco, that’s not we’re going to value in California.”