San Francisco may spend more than $7 million during the next two years to provide legal defense for undocumented immigrants who may be deported by the federal government under President-elect Donald Trump, who has vowed a mass deportation when in office.
Supervisor David Campos introduced the spending supplemental Tuesday and called on his colleagues and Mayor Ed Lee to support it before Trump is sworn in as president on Jan. 20.
The mayor has, like other Democratic mayors in major cities across the nation, dug in his heels on longstanding sanctuary city policies that restrict city law enforcement and other departments from reporting undocumented immigrants to federal authorities for deportation. But Campos said The City needs to ramp up not with just verbal commitments but also resources.
He introduced the supplemental with the backing of Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who would use the money hire more attorneys for legal defense for undocumented immigrants. Nonprofits that provide legal resources would also receive funding.
For the current year, The City would allocate $1.9 million and for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, $5 million.
“It allows us to actually to take the first concrete step to making sure that when we say we are sanctuary that we truly mean it,” Campos said. “It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to actually take steps to make it happen.”
There are an estimated 44,000 undocumented immigrants in San Francisco.
The supplemental comes at a time when The City is already rebalancing its budget after voters rejected a sales tax hike in November that was assumed in the budget to generate $155 million annually to fund transportation and homeless services. The supplemental will be dealt with in context of those conversations.
Mayor Ed Lee has not said whether he would support the supplemental as proposed. Mayoral spokesperson Deirdre Hussey said the mayor has been talking with Adachi and nonprofits “to discuss immediate resources needed for legal support for immigrant families, children and communities.”
Hussey said The City already has $4.3 million budgeted for legal defense for undocumented immigrants and “the mayor supports additional legal support for immigrant communities and will review Campos’ legislation to ensure that the community based organization and nonprofits are funded sufficiently to help residents in need.”
She continued, “The mayor plans to deal with the funding issue as he works with the Board of Supervisors to re-balance the budget in the next two weeks.”
See a breakdown of next year’s proposed spending below.