David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief
Going beyond being a sanctuary city, more urban centers are providing taxpayer-funded legal aid for illegal immigrants to defend them from prosecution and keep them in the U.S.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a press conference where he addressed issues related to the citys murder rate and the citys Sanctuary City policy on Jan. 25, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
As Fox News reports, the mayors of these cities dont appear to be just resisting President Donald Trumps immigration policies, they are creating an opposing system. While citizens accused of crimes are entitled to legal defense at public expense, authorities are not obligated to provide legal assistance to illegal immigrants, Fox notes. (RELATED: Texas Gov Greg Abbott Slams Sanctuary Cities For Insanity)
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said this week that the city has allocated $385,000 to increase the funding to an already-existing legal aid program for illegal immigrants.
“There is no greater responsibility that I have as mayor than to keep all residents of Denver, undocumented or not, safe and secure,” he said. “And when we have challenging language that comes out of Washington that threatens that very covenant that we have with all of our residents it makes it doubly difficult for us to help people feel safe in their city.”Demonstrators gather at a “Free Our Future” march to protest the expected introduction of ICEs new sped up mass immigration hearings and deportation in San Diego, Cal., July 2, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Denver is not alone. Liberal cities on the West Coast like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle are sponsoring legal defense funds for illegals as are Washington, New York, Baltimore, Chicago and Austin,Tex.
“We are proud to be a sanctuary city,” boasted former San Francisco Supervisor David Campos when, according to Fox, he first talked about taxpayer-funded legal aid for those facing deportation. “And were not only proud to stand up for that, but were going to invest the resources needed to make sure that the 44,000 undocumented people who live in the city and county of San Francisco have, at a minimum, legal representation if theyre taken into immigration court.” (RELATED: Birmingham Mayor Doubles Down On Sancutary Policy, Calls City Welcoming)
Chicago Alderman Nicholas Sposato voted against his citys plan to spend $1.3 million in 2016 for its legal aid program, calling it “the legal defense fund for the illegals,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The policy is indicative of an apparently growing trend in the Democratic Party towards open borders and reassessing the powers of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). While some Democrats have called for the abolition of the federal agency, on Thursday, California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris asked a Trump immigration department nominee if he could find any “parallels” between ICE and the KKK.
Sancutary cities have already created tension between ICE and local police. According to ICE agents in Portland, local police refused to call 911 on their behalf when asked to do so.
The mushrooming legal aid programs from coast to coast are often being assisted by the Vera Institute of Justice. The immigrant advocacy group Safety and Fairness for Everyone Network (SAFE) is also active in promoting and managing legal aid programs for illegals.