SF supes' budget committee votes for legal aid to immigrant kids
By John Coté
You can read the original article on SF Gate.
The Board of Supervisors’ three-member budget committee voted unanimously Wednesday to support a proposal to provide more than $2 million to fund immigration lawyers for youth facing fast-tracked deportation.
The supplemental budget appropriation, which would provide $2.1 million total to be drawn from the $58 million in the city’s general reserve, must still go to the full Board of Supervisors. Even if approved, Mayor Ed Lee would not be required to spend the money.
“It’s not done until it’s done,” said Supervisor David Campos, who authored the proposal. Campos was brought into the country illegally from Guatemala at age 14.
“This is a modest amount given the extent of the need, but it’s an important step,” Campos said. “It cannot just end here. It cannot be just San Francisco allocating this money. We challenge the rest of the Bay Area … to step in and do the same.”
San Francisco already is giving $100,000 this year to the nonprofit Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which will use the funds to provide pro bono legal representation to city residents facing deportation, including children and families, under a proposal pushed by board President David Chiu.
Lee, who returned Tuesday night from a two-day trade mission to Mexico that also included a meeting with U.S. Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne to discuss the surge in undocumented immigrant youths, acknowledges that legal services are needed for these children, said his spokeswoman, Christine Falvey.
Exactly what form that assistance takes, including pro bono work, is still being considered, she said.
“I don’t know what the amount will be,” Falvey said, “but at the end of the day, he supports providing more legal services to these children and youth.”