Sacramento hopes to lead the way for sanctuary cities

New resolution set by Sacramento to protect immigrants could cost thousands.

The City of Sacramento has designated itself as a sanctuary city.

In January Mayor Steinberg said, "We are not going to trade the civil rights of people for federal money. You compromise a lot in politics but you don't compromise civil rights."

Now, the city is planning to put their words into action.

According to the City's agenda, officials are voting Thursday on a proposal that will kick start the "Sacramento Family Unity, Educations and Legal Network for Immigrants, or FUEL, a collection of local immigration attorneys, nonprofits and law schools specializing in immigration law". 

Attorney Luis Cespedes chairs the lawyer's advisory board for the Safe Haven Task Force. He helped put the plan together for FUEL. 

"We are now putting our money where our mouth is," Cespedes said. 

He said the hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars would ease the fears of undocumented people. He said FUEL would provide legal assistance, psychological and mental health counseling and provide interpretation services, as well as family preparedness.

"Families are facing a critical need for services and they have paid taxes, they have paid property taxes through rent, they are subsidizing the restaurant industry because of their low wages," Cespedes said, "You cannot have farm to fork without a farm worker, you can have farm to fork for all of eternity, but if you don't have farm workers you wont have farm to fork and that is the investment".

This proposed program will cost $300,000, and according to officials, it will come from the cities general fund. City Councilmember Eric Guerra is pushing for FUEL. 

"The City of Sacramento is planning to fund the Family Education Unification and Legal Network through the general fund to make sure families don't get broken up," Guerra told ABC 10's Anne Di Grazia on the phone while he was in D.C..

Everyone who lives in Sacramento will pay for it because the general fund is made up of sales and property tax. 

"Everytime someone goes to the store and buys a stick of gum whether or not you are an immigrant, it goes to the general fund," the councilmember added. 

He said they are already looking for other funding sources if the resolution passes or not. 

"This is a very modest amount of money, and we as a city along with non profits are already going after money, grants and sources of funding to assist in what's already occurring," Guerra said. 

If it passes organizers believe this will "boost the city’s status as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants." City Council will vote whether or not to  to go through with the proposal on Thursday 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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