DECEMBER 22, 2016
A few days after the Chicago City Council approved a $1.3 million legal defense fund to help illegal immigrants facing deportation, officials in Los Angeles unveiled their version with more than seven times the money. It appears to be a growing trend of using public funds to protect those who have violated federal law. The offenders are municipalities that have long offered illegal aliens sanctuary and an array of taxpayer-funded benefits.
Last week Chicago officials proudly announced their legal defense fund to help immigrants threatened with deportation. It was created to prepare for President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise to deport thousands of illegal immigrants. One Chicago alderman admitted he probably has illegal aliens working in his city office. The lawmaker, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, said this in a local news report: “Donald Trump, we are sending you a message, you will not tear apart our families, we will stay together. We will defend and protect our communities.” The money to defend illegal immigrants for violating the nation’s federal statutes will come from Chicago property tax rebate funds.
An African-American alderman who represents Chicago’s South Side went along with the measure to help the city’s illegal immigrants, but made it clear that the struggling communities she represents should have priority. “I’d like to see the administration put the same amount of effort into creating a legal representation fund for all of those young black boys and black girls that are racially profiled in this city or are shot by the police unnecessarily or to support programs like CeaseFire to quell some of the violence in our community,” said Alderman Pat Dowell. “When the mayor talks about wanting to keep the immigrant communities safe, secure and supported, those are the same needs that other communities have. … To raise the immigrant communities’ issues to the forefront, I think is something we should do. But, I’d like to see the same attention to some needs we have in our community.”
A few days after Chicago’s announcement, another sanctuary city more than 1,700 miles away launched a $10 million fund to help illegal immigrants dodge justice. The local newspaper called it “the region’s boldest move yet as it prepares for an expected crackdown on illegal immigration by Donald Trump.” The L.A. city attorney, whose office prosecutes crimes and represents the city in litigation, said the money will ensure that there is “more fairness and more effectiveness in the immigration system,” which, of course, is a federal and not a state matter. L.A.’s mayor said the taxpayer dollars allocated to this cause will help the region’s “most vulnerable” immigrants. The money will come from the city’s general fund, which is used for services such as street repairs, fire and police protection.
Shortly after the city announced its fund, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors offered to kick in another $3 million to provide lawyers for illegal aliens that may face removal under the new administration. The board voted 4-1 in favor of contributing to the L.A. Justice Fund. The supervisor who voted against it, Kathryn Barger, said it’s irresponsible for the board to allocate funding for such a program. Several residents also spoke out at the meeting, according to news reports, that described it as a “heated” event. One resident said “illegal immigration is a crime, let’s be honest. We’re talking about spending millions of dollars protecting criminals from justice.” Another L.A. resident opposed to using tax dollars to help illegal aliens pointed out that “when you come across that border, and you don’t have the right to be here, you’re illegal. It’s the same as selling dope, shooting somebody. Illegal is illegal.”
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