SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Tonight, the city council voted to spend $300,000 on a legal defense network for undocumented immigrants. There are an estimated 55,000 undocumented immigrants in Sacramento County alone, many of them worried about their families being torn apart.
“We pride ourselves in standing with and for people who are being unfairly attacked,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
City council members deliberated for an hour before voting unanimously to pass a new immigration platform for the city. Before that, the public comment period lasted for two hours, filled with lawyers, teachers and parents all saying inclusion of immigrants is what’s best for Sacramento.
“To not know whether you’re going to see your husband your wife, your children, nobody should live like that,” said Fatima Garcia, member of Sacramento Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.
With their vote, the council approved the following:
- Reaffirming Sacramento as a Sanctuary City
- Adopting a city-wide immigration platform
- Spending $300,000 for legal support services for immigrant families
“You can’t put a price on justice,” said Councilmember Eric Guerra, who led the Safe Haven Task Force to create the immigration platform. “$58.9 million of tax revenue come from undocumented immigrants in Sacramento County alone!”
Under the resolutions, city officials are banned from using city resources to enforce federal civil immigration law. The $300,000 will go towards hiring one to attorneys to give legal advice and training seminars to people in the community who may be unfamiliar with their rights.
Several people showed up to speak out in support of the resolution. But Mac Worthy made his disapproval of supporting immigrants loud and clear.
“When you come to America, you violate the law,” Worthy said. “You are a criminal then.”
The money would come from the city’s general fund and the mayor calls it a necessary investment.
“We are not a city that will exchange people’s civil rights for money,” Steinberg said.
Garcia says she looks forward to a day when immigrants don’t have to live in fear of walking into a courthouse or calling the police in an emergency.
“We’re excited to see what Sacramento is really going to do,” Garcia said.
The money for the legal defense fund will come from the 2017-2018 budget. After approval, Steinberg requested that further specific details be laid out and presented by May 23.