Quickly after President Donald Trump signed executive orders that would punish sanctuary cities by cutting their federal funding, Bay Area leaders doubled down on their promises to remain defiant against the president’s anti-immigrant attacks.
The mayors of Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and San Jose published a joint statement Wednesday afternoon, reaffirming their commitment to work together to combat the impacts that threatened cuts to federal funding would have on Bay Area residents.
Oakland, for example, stands to lose $130 million in federal funding for education programs like Head Start, homeless shelter and harm reduction services through HUD money, and toxic lead removal for low-income property owners.
Trump’s order exempts law enforcement grants, however, allowing local police departments to continue receiving billions of dollars a year from the federal government.
“The Bay Area stands united against this White House’s morally bankrupt policies that would divide families, turn our nation’s back on refugees in need, and potentially thwart the efforts of nearly one million productive young people who are on a legal path to citizenship,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
“We will not allow this president to play politics with our safety and security,” she said.
Fearing Trump may start massive deportations, SF Board of Supervisors on Wednesday approved spending $1.5 million out of its general fund reserve on legal defense services for undocumented residents.
Alameda County is slated to approve a similar budget of $1.2 million for a rapid response network for immigrant families threatened to be separated due to deportation.
Last month, Oakland City Council voted unanimously to direct the City Administrator to return to the council in January with a resolution to appropriate $300,000 over two years to the county’s immigration defense fund.
The resolution has yet to appear before the City Council.
Trump’s orders on Wednesday also called for the construction of the US-Mexico border wall—to be paid for by US tax dollars, building new public and private detention centers to hold undocumented people, and adding 5,000 border patrol agents and 10,000 immigration officers.
Just a few hours after Trump signed the orders on Wednesday, over 100 community members rallied in front of San Francisco City Hall to denounce his actions.
Speakers at the rally urged the community not to fall into the divisive dichotomy between criminal and non-criminal immigrants, since Trump claims his actions only target criminals.
“We remind you of the massive criminalization of the immigrant community, the racial profiling of immigrants, and that it’s really about the business of caging people and putting them into detention centers,” said one speaker.
“We are all seen as criminal simply for coming here (to the US) to survive,” she said.
It is also unclear what constitutes a criminal, since minor offences such as DUIs or missing a court date are used as evidence to deport people.
Rev. Dr. Richard Smith of St. John Episcopal Church in San Francisco told the crowd that over 800 faith centers across the country have become sanctuaries for immigrants whose lives and families are at risk.
Tulio Ospina is the assistant editor of the Oakland Post and editor-in-chief of El Mundo.
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