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Nonprofit pledges to match whatever Sacramento spends on legal aid for undocumented immigrants

The Vera Institute for Justice will help fund legal counsel for those facing deportation from Sacramento and 10 other U.S. cities and counties, the nonprofit announced.

The Sacramento City Council unanimously agreed to set aside up to $300,000 in May to fight deportation through a network of nonprofit groups providing legal, educational and faith-based services. Inclusion of Sacramento in the Vera Institute’s Safety and Fairness for Everyone Cities Network means the organization will match whatever sum the city spends. The Vera Institute will also offer technical expertise and support, including helping Sacramento share best practices with other jurisdictions and data analysis to evaluate the network’s impact.

Jurisdictions were evaluated based on their track record of investing in undocumented immigrants’ legal defenses, according to a Vera Institute news release. Santa Ana and Alameda County were also included in the network, giving California more members than any other state. Gov. Jerry Brown approved an budget earlier this year with $45 million earmarked to help retain residents facing possible deportation.

President Donald Trump’s proposed immigration overhaul could lead to the deportation of up to 8 million people currently living in the U.S., according to a Los Angeles Times analysis. The Trump administration has also targeted so-called “sanctuary cities” such as Sacramento by running more Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency raids and threatening to withhold federal funds unless municipal policies are changed.

Two Sacramento-area Cambodian immigrants who came to the U.S. as children were detained last month and face possible repatriation. A Yuba City man who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border more than a decade ago was also slated for deportation during a routine, required ICE check-in despite having two small children, no criminal record and a steady job for the last nine years.

The following jurisdictions are also part of the SAFE Cities Network: Atlanta; Austin; Baltimore; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dane County, Wisconsin; Alameda County; Prince George’s County, Maryland; San Antonio and Santa Ana.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

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