APRIL 03, 2008
A major U.S. city has officially launched a taxpayer-financed advertisement campaign promoting it as a sanctuary for illegal immigrants to use public services without fear of punishment.
San Francisco’s $83,000 ad campaign was created specifically to assure the city’s estimated 40,000 illegal aliens that they can benefit from services such as public clinics, libraries and schools without fear of being reported to federal immigration authorities.
The notoriously liberal northern California city by the bay has for decades been a sanctuary for illegal immigrants but officials want to make certain that those in the country illegally know they are protected in their municipality. To spread the word among the immigrant communities, lawmakers spent nearly $100,000 on print and radio ads, bus shelter announcements, billboards and multi-language brochures.
In a press release posted on the city’s web site, Mayor Gavin Newsom confirms that the public awareness campaign is to assure undocumented residents that accessing city services does not make an individual vulnerable to federal immigration authorities. He reminds illegal aliens that city employees will not report individuals or their immigration status to federal immigration agents therefore they should feel safe when they visit a public health clinic, enroll their children in school, report a crime to police or seek other city services. .
The informative press release also explains the history of San Francisco’s sanctuary policy, which dates back to 1989 when officials passed the “City of Refuge,” ordinance prohibiting city employees from helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with immigration investigations or arrests. In 2007 Newsom reaffirmed San Francisco’s commitment to illegal immigrants by issuing an executive order calling on all city departments to develop protocol and training on the sanctuary law.
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