SF cements its role as "sanctuary city"

April 2, 2008 7:22:31 PM PDT
San Francisco is launching a new campaign tonight to tell illegal immigrants they're welcome in the city.

San Francisco is a so-called sanctuary city. What that means exactly-- and how officials are getting the word out.

The city's message will appear on TV, radio, posters and brochures in five languages.

The extensive outreach campaign will be directed at undocumented workers and their families in San Francisco.

"We're going to spend resources, time and energy to do PSA's, to do campaign outreach into community clinics, into public schools, into our police stations to let people know what a sanctuary city is all about," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Mayor Gavin Newsom says he's concerned that the federal government has been more aggressive in its immigration raids.

"We will stand up and fight for people so they live their lives out loud in the light of day with dignity and respect," said Newsom.

Although there have been no major raids recently in the city this is one time when the supervisors will stand behind Newsom.

This is one issue where the political will is unified on both sides of the aisle," said San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano.

With the mayor today were department heads and immigrant community leaders.

"Here is one place where you will find compassionate people in city government," said Rev. Phil Lawson from the Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

Police Chief Heather Fong is featured prominently in the TV spot.

"We do not work on enforcing immigration laws, only public safety to prevent crime," said San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong.

What will it cost the city to get the word out? $83,000 dollars.

Yeh Ling-Ling's is with Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America. The group believes immigrants should come here legally.

"San Francisco doesn't even have the budget to care for American born homeless people. San Franciscans who are struggling to make ends meet should be outraged that the mayor should tax them to provide services to illegal families," said Ling-Ling.

City officials passed an ordinance making San Francisco a sanctuary city almost two decades ago. Mayor Newsom says its time to take that message to another level.