Sacramento Spent $300,000 On Services For Undocumented Immigrants, Including Fighting Deportations

In the face of the Trump administration's ongoing crackdown on immigration, the California city of Sacramento dedicated $300,000 last year to helping undocumented immigrants with everything from legal services to fight deportations to assistance in applying for citizenship and visas.

In total, the program, called the Family Unity, Education and Legal Network for Immigrants, or FUEL, helped provide services to more than 6,000 families, including "know your rights" presentations for more than 2,000 families, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The money also went toward helping 28 undocumented immigrants facing deportation receive legal aid in their bid to stay in the U.S., as well as helping residents in encounters with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

In addition to providing undocumented immigrants with access to a network of nonprofits, religious organizations, law school immigration clinics, local pro bono attorneys and other community partners, the program gives users access to a "rapid response network," which includes a 24-hour hotline that people can call to report ICE activity within the Sacramento area.

Speaking Tuesday during a City Council presentation on the program, immigration attorney Marcus Tang made clear that much of the demand for FUEL's services came in response to President Donald Trump's election.

Tang said that "many undocumented immigrants" had come to his office immediately after Trump's 2016 victory and asked, "What do I do if I'm deported or detained? What happens to my children?"

"We helped make plans for that," Tang said.

On its website, the FUEL program's organizers say they believe "in an immigrant-centered approach that embraces unity across racial and ethnic communities."

"As a program established by the City of Sacramento, we strive to build solidarity and collaboration with local, state and national partners seeking justice for immigrant, migrant and refugee families," the website states.

While the program's services come free, those with criminal records are not eligible for funding. However, exceptions can be made for minor offenses, such as marijuana possession, according to the Bee.

Lawmakers are deciding whether to extend the FUEL program. Sacramento Councilman Eric Guerra, who helped start the scheme, forwarded a motion on Tuesday to see it continue with additional funding.

"We need to take the president at his word that he will go after working families in Sacramento," Guerra told the newspaper. "I think it's imperative that this program be continued."

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People protest the Trump administration's immigration policies outside a speech being delivered by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Sacramento, California, on March 7. The city of Sacramento spent $300,000 last year to support undocumented immigrants. NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty
Sacramento Spent $300,000 On Services For Undocumented Immigrants, Including Fighting Deportations | U.S.