San Francisco considers funding lawyers for undocumented immigrants

The City of San Francisco is considering a proposal to spend $5 million to hire legal help for people detained by immigration.

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Immigration attorneys, judges, and civic leaders brainstormed ways San Francisco can respond to what to what is expected to be a tsunami of new immigration cases. Actor and activist Danny Glover was on the panel.

"How do we resist," Glover asked the crowd. "How do we resist at this moment?"

One plan calls for San Francisco to lawyer up--hire immigration attorneys to assist those who face deportation since they are not guaranteed the right to a lawyer.

"It's a disgrace to have someone who's future is being determined to not have a lawyer beside them," said James Brosnahan, Senior Counsel for Morrison and Foerster.

Having an immigration lawyer increased his odds of staying five-fold. "If you believe in human rights and civil rights, then you have to believe in due process rights."

There are 44,000 undocumented immigrants in San Francisco, 91 percent of them are employed and 1,500 of them are currently detained in deportation detention centers.

"You hear about 5,000 more border patrol agents are going to be hired, and 10,000 more immigration officers but you don't hear about a specific number of immigration judges that they need," said Sandra Lee Fewer, a San Francisco supervisor.

The next step is for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to decide on March 2 if they'll spend the money to hire ten new immigration attorneys.

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