Former District 9 Supervisor David Campos speaks at a rally for immigrant's rights at City Hall on  December 6, 2016. (Dan Chambers/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Former District 9 Supervisor David Campos speaks at a rally for immigrant's rights at City Hall on December 6, 2016. (Dan Chambers/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Board to consider additional funds for immigrant legal defense

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is set to consider additional funding to provide legal representation to immigrants fighting deportation, but the request falls short of what is being sought by advocates.

The Board of Supervisors’ budget and finance committee on Wednesday voted to forward a $1.5 million budget appropriation for immigration-related services to the full board for a vote.

The appropriation of real estate transfer tax funding requested by Mayor Ed Lee will help increase funding for community-based nonprofits that already assist immigrants.

However, the funding request does not include funds sought by immigrant advocates for legal representation for immigrants through the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.

Supervisor David Campos in November introduced legislation that would have provided around $5 million a year toward legal representation for immigrants. About half of that amount would have gone toward the public defender’s office, which works directly with immigrants facing deportation due to criminal proceedings.

The request was made in response to statements by President-elect Donald Trump, who says he plans to deport an estimated 3 million immigrants with criminal records and withhold federal funding from cities like San Francisco that have sanctuary city policies.

However, Lee has said he favors funding immigrant legal services through existing nonprofits and instead asked Public Defender Jeff Adachi to seek the increased funding in the next budget cycle.

Francisco Ugarte, an immigration specialist for the public defender’s office, told the committee that the proposed funding would not be sufficient to provide representation to immigrants who are being detained.

Ugarte said that at any given time, there are around 1,500 immigrants facing deportation being detained, and more than 85 percent do not have attorneys.

“We believe that San Francisco should follow the example of New York and New Jersey, which, through their public defender agencies, provide legal representation to all people in custody facing removal or deportation,” Ugarte said. “This is the only humane position for us to take as a Sanctuary City and a city that stands for due process and fairness for all.”Board of Supervisorsimmigrationimmigration lawyersPoliticssanctuary city

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Basketball (Shutterstock)
SI alum Begovich gets his moment, but Stanford falls on Senior Day

MAPLES PAVILION — Generally speaking, Stanford’s home finale on Saturday afternoon, a… Continue reading

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

California is set to receive supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is still under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Courtesy photo)
California could receive 380K doses of new J&J COVID vaccine next week

California could receive 380,300 doses of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

Most Read