San Francisco Supervisor Proposes $5 Million for Deportation Lawyers - NBC Bay Area
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San Francisco Supervisor Proposes $5 Million for Deportation Lawyers

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    San Francisco is being asked to anti up millions of dollars to protect undocumented immigrants. Mark Matthews reports. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016)

    San Francisco is being asked to anti up millions of dollars to protect undocumented immigrants.

    Supervisor David Campos is pushing a proposal to spend $5 million a year on lawyers for people facing deportation.

    During a rally Tuesday afternoon in support of the proposal, Campos told the crowd he came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant.

    "We want president-elect Donald Trump to know that there is nothing more American than immigration," Campos said.

    The $5 million a year would pay for 10 lawyers and support staff administered by the public defender.

    "It's a shame that there are 1,600 people in detention proceedings in San Francisco and thousands more around the country who don't have a right to a lawyer," San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said.

    Isolda Matamoros, 31 and of Nicaragua, was one of those detained in 2014.

    "I had been deported before when I was 9 years old, so I was getting a really serious charge," Matamoros said.

    But after a month behind bars, Matamoros' cousin got her a lawyer and she was freed.

    "Without my lawyer I wouldn't be here today," she said.

    Matamoros spoke at the rally outside San Francisco City Hall and told the crowd when you are locked up there is nobody looking out for you.

    Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer and a member of the Republican National Committee, said the proposal is a bad idea.

    "I don't think it's the place of our Board of Supervisors to use public tax money to defend violations of the law and that's really what we're talking about here," Dhillon said.

    Sanctuary cities have generally come to mean a city where local law enforcement will not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. Spending tax dollars to defend undocumented immigrants is a step beyond that traditional meaning, but New York City has already done it.

    San Francisco would be the second city in the country if the proposal is approved.

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