San Francisco Aims to Spend $11.1 million in Taxpayer Funds to Defend Immigrants

San Francisco’s interim mayor Mark Farrell unveiled plans to join with California Assemblyman Phil Ting to request $7 million in state funds be used to finance the legal counsel for every alien appearing before the U.S. Immigration Court in California.

The move comes in the wake of last week’s four-day operation conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in which hundreds of illegal immigrants, including those with previous criminal convictions, were arrested.

In addition, San Francisco hopes to take an additional $3.5 million in city funds every year for legal services for immigrants, bringing the total to $11.1 million every year.

Last year, California approved a $45 million fund  to provide legal services to immigrants and illegal aliens, but that fund could get bigger if the state approves a proposal made in January by two Democratic lawmakers to increase it by $10 million.

While Farrell was quick to criticize the Trump administration for enforcing the Immigration and Nationality Act, he was less willing to offer details about the individuals who would be getting free legal counsel.

According to ICE, a total of 232 people were arrested in the San Francisco area and Northern California communities for violating U.S. immigration laws, including 180 who had prior convictions, had been issued a final order of removal, or had previously been deported. Furthermore, 115 of the individuals detained had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes and assault.

The figure would have been higher, according to a statement issued by acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, if Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf had not publicly tipped off immigrants to pending ICE enforcement actions. Where Schaaf obtained advanced information on planned ICE enforcement actions is unclear.

Although California’s generosity with its taxpayers’ money is unique, a growing number of states and localities are appropriating public funds to give legal aid to those who have violated U.S. laws.

In Portland, Oregon, city commissioner Chloe Eudaly recently proposed spending $750,000 to ensure nearly every immigrant who faces deportation can have a lawyer, according to the Willamette Week. The proposal would carry a $1.5 million cost to the city of Portland and Multnomah County in the first year.

And in California’s Contra Costa County, the Board of Supervisors approved a rapid response hotline to give immigrants access to legal services or report Immigration and Customs Enforcement “raids in the county at any hour.”

Last April, the Seattle City Council unanimously backed a resolution use $1 million of taxpayers’ dollars on legal representation for local immigrants and refugees, including illegal aliens. Combined with funding from King County, the total is $1.5 million.

Santa Clara County in January voted to spend $1.5 million over two years to help defend illegal aliens facing deportation and Washington, D.C. last year announced a $500,000 program to support legal aid resources.

Even in the small New York city of Ithaca, politicians are gearing up to spend emergency funds to help illegal immigrants detained by ICE agents, according to The Ithaca Voice.

Whether in big cities or in small towns, is defending those individuals who knowingly violate immigration laws the best use of public resources?

About Author


Jennifer joined FAIR as Web Content Writer in 2017 and brings to the role extensive communications and media background. She began her career as a policy research analyst on multiple national and state political campaigns before entering journalism. In addition to spending over a decade writing for several broadcast and print news outlets, Jennifer directed communications strategy for a member of Congress and a military nonprofit.


  1. avatar

    Meanwhile tens of thousands are on the street homeless, drug use is rampant, crime is at an all time high and the politicians have proven they don’t care about anyone who won’t provide them votes in upcoming elections.

  2. avatar

    Just had an extra 11.1 million sitting around I guess. I bet the tax payers, and citizens will be happy to hear that. Especially sense being honest LIBTARDS like you are will invest in the city.

  3. avatar
    Willism Webb on

    Legal counsel is not going to miraculously make the crime of illegal entry disappear. It is just throwing away the citizens tax money on their social cause of the year. They will be deported anyway, and they cannot just abandon their children, or leave them with friends or relatives. They must take them with them. Their children retain the citizenship of the parents. They do not get stealth amnesty.

  4. avatar

    How great is that? $11.1 million dollars to defend criminals. Boy, if I lived in San Francisco where you probably can’t say “boy”, I’d surely for these morons. But I wouldn’t live Sewer Francisco for anything.

  5. avatar
    POed Illegal Opponent on

    I am simply amazed that the idiots who live in CA continue to allow this reign of terror by illegals to continue. Why has no citizen of the City of SF seen fit to sue the city for misappropriation of funds?

    • avatar
      Joel Wischkaemper on

      San Francisco has become one very dirty city with homeless everywhere, and restrooms not available anywhere. The problems Californians face in the State Legislature are enormous as people try and surmount the standing rules and solve the problems. The illegal aliens have very strong supporters in the governments, and they make demand, or they will destroy.

  6. avatar

    Anyone doing something ILLEGAL be mayor or immigrant should be thrown in jail not allowed to spend more tax payer money. IF I DID SOMETHING ILLEGAL THEY WOULDN’T PAY FOR ME I’D BE IN JAIL SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT!!!!

  7. avatar

    California is exactly what you don’t want your state to turn into. In spite of their claims of being “the world’s 6th biggest economy”, for the most part it’s a disaster area. Highest taxes in the country along with highest percentage of homeless and the highest poverty rates when adjusted for cost of living. Cost of living such as a house in San Francisco going for 20 times the price of an identical house in “poor” Mississippi.

    The current acclaim in Hollywood for Winston Churchill is ironic given that his hard line against Germany in the 30s was seen by the left then as uncouth and counterproductive, somewhat as the left is in pearl clutching horror now when Trump tells North Korea you will cooperate or we will make it hard for you. As Churchill pointed out, you only encourage certain people when you show no resolve, and had he been listened to in 1938 Germany may have backed down.

  8. avatar

    I live in San Francisco. It has really sadden me that during the recent cold and rainy weather that our mentally ill homeless were left on the streets to suffer by a heartless city government. The Democrats are doing the bidding of drug cartels in making sure their illegal human and drug smuggling operations are a success. This is why hypodermic needles are all over the sidewalks–San Francisco does nothing to discourage illegal drug usage. Now, the city is opening injection sites to welcome people who shoot up meth and heroin.

  9. avatar

    Better check and make sure it is real money they are spending and not counterfeit money. California is broke and there will be no relief in sight. Because they and other communities have broken federal law no federal grant money will be given too them. Remember federal law trumps state law so good luck when you finally come to the conclusion that your expenses far out weigh what is coming in. I think Rahm Emmanuel should be jailed for giving out identity cards which can let the illegal aliens vote and I think in the end there will be prosecutions for a lot of people who thumb there nose at federal law. Remember for every action there is a reaction and your not going to like what is coming your way.

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