As GOP members of the electoral college rubber stamped the looming national disaster that is Donald Trump, the city of Los Angeles made a boldly defiant move against the President-elect’s deportation agenda.
On Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the city’s new $10 million L.A. Justice Fund to provide legal help for immigrants facing deportation. According to the city’s website, this effort is jointly funded by the city and by philanthropists:
‘The L.A. Justice Fund is a partnership between the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, the California Community Foundation, the Weingart Foundation and the California Endowment. The fund will be comprised of $5 million from government funds and $5 million sourced by private foundations.’
In his statement, Eric Garcetti proclaimed:
‘People who have built their lives in America have rights, and they deserve all of the protections that our legal system provides. The L.A. Justice Fund will reach out to people who are American by every measure except the papers they hold — our family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. They are part of our community, and we will fight for them.’
The Los Angeles Times notes:
‘The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote Tuesday on allocating $1 million this budget year toward the fund, with a commitment to add $2 million more in the coming years, according to Supervisor Hilda Solis’ office.’
Of course Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant crowd’s already howling about how this effort to provide people facing deportation with legal representation is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Los Angeles will use $10 million fm tax payers for defending Illegal Aliens
Think about that for a second
— Hardhat ⭐⭐⭐ (@Hardhat_Patriot) December 20, 2016
Here’s the thing: undocumented immigrants have family members who live here legally and pay taxes. Plus, they pay taxes, too. According to the U.S. News and World Report, undocumented immigrants pay $12 billion a year in local and state income, property, sales, and excise taxes. In the state of California, they contribute $3.2 billion. With a B.
‘There were roughly 11 million immigrants estimated to be in the U.S. illegally as of 2013, according to the report. And each and every state collects at least a few million dollars from tax payments made by such immigrants each year, ranging from Montana’s $2.2 million to California’s $3.2 billion.’
CNN Money adds that they pay $15 billion every year into Social Security that they’ll likely never collect. Without them, Social Security would have started running short in 2009, due to the wave of baby boomers starting their retirements. Contrary to myths, they neither qualify for nor collect cash welfare benefits, though their children – often U.S. citizens – do. Deporting undocumented immigrants won’t create jobs for “real Americans” because their employers either can’t or won’t pay a living wage for those jobs.
The Hill notes that other cities across the U.S. have launched funds to provide legal help to those facing deportation:
‘Los Angeles joins a growing list of cities introducing similar funds, including New York City and Chicago. The new $10 million fund — called the L.A. Justice Fund — will go into effect in early 2017. It will be funded by the city government and a private foundation.’
In the U.S. justice system, people who can’t afford a lawyer are provided with one. However, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) isn’t part of our justice system. A report from the American Immigration Council (AIC) points out that only 27 percent of undocumented immigrants in deportation proceedings have a lawyer. Once they’re behind bars, only 14 percent of them manage to find an attorney.
In addition, people with legal representation fare better at every stage of the process. Immigrants with counsel are five times more likely to receive relief before detention occurs and four times more likely to be released after being detained.
Featured image: Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti via City of Los Angeles.