Undocumented immigrants in Sacramento will have city-funded legal services as soon as next month to fight deportation and “prepare for the worst” as their fears grow about federal immigration enforcement.
Sacramento City Council members voted unanimously late Thursday to set aside up to $300,000 for a network of legal, educational and faith-based nonprofit groups that will help residents with immediate immigration problems and advise them how to protect children and assets if parents are deported.
The network also would educate them on their rights.
“The reality is there is a lot of fear,” said Councilman Eric Guerra. “We can alleviate that fear.”
Washington Elementary School Principal Gema Godina testified she has been asked multiple times by frightened undocumented families to take their children if parents are detained. She said she was unprepared for the requests but has agreed to be the legal guardian for five of her students.
Blake Nordahl, a professor at Sacramento’s McGeorge School of Law, said the school’s immigration clinic, which will likely receive part of the city funding, has been overwhelmed in recent months.
“We are strained. We are beyond capacity,” said Nordahl, who added that clients are “afraid to bring kids to school” or report crimes.