Update, March 1, 12:40 p.m: San Francisco officials have announced that the city will spend an additional $3.5 million annually on legal services for detained immigrants, through the Public Defender's Office and local nonprofits. That's more money than initially suggested by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, who worked with Mayor Mark Farrell and others on the funding plan.
The additional resources bring total annual city spending for immigrant legal aid to more than $11 million. In addition, Farrell and San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting are advocating for $7 million in state funding to provide legal representation for all immigrants detained in Northern California. A majority of detained immigrants lack legal representation, according to city officials.
More than 200 protesters surrounded the offices of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in downtown San Francisco Wednesday and closed the area to traffic, after the federal agency arrested more than 150 people in Northern and Central California this week.
About half of the immigrants arrested since Sunday have criminal backgrounds, according to an ICE statement, which said the agency is targeting people it considers a threat to public safety. But protesters denounced the operation as a move that terrorizes communities and separates families.