Taxpayers in Sacramento are officially on the hook to help fund a so-called legal network dedicated to protecting illegal immigrants in the city from federal immigration authorities under President Donald Trump.
On Thursday, the Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to set aside $300,000 in taxpayer funds to create a network of legal, educational and faith-based nonprofit groups whose sole purpose will be to benefit illegal immigrants targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
In addition to advising people with immediate immigration issues and giving them resources to care for their children and assets if they are deported, the network will also instruct illegal immigrants about their rights.
Members of the city council pointed to widespread fear and doubt among Sacramento’s sizable illegal population as the impetus behind their decision to appropriate taxpayer funds, noting that the existing services dedicated toward helping undocumented immigrants are already bursting to the seams with people trying to avoid getting deported.
Councilman Eric Guerra, who was in charge of the task force that created the proposal, insisted that immigrants should have access to taxpayer dollars because they do their part to contribute to the local economy via property and sales taxes.
In a similar vein, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg pointed to a recent report from the California Endowment which claimed that illegal immigrants residing in Sacramento County funnel $58.9 million into the government’s coffers annually.
The move is not without its fair share of local detractors. Jennifer Garets, a board member of the Sacramento Republican Women Federated, did not mince words about the proposal.
“I think it’s disgusting. I don’t think that taxpayer money should be used to support this. I’d rather it be given to the homeless,” she told the Sacramento Bee.
In addition to the illegal aid network, the City Council also voted to make it illegal for city employees – police included – to ask about immigration status.