Board Approves $3.8 Million Funding for Legal Representation for Immigrants

County of Santa Clara

Acting in support of immigrants who may face deportation without due process, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved an investment of $3.8 million in legal representation, and a Know Your Rights education and media campaign. 

The Board’s action at its Tuesday, March 14th meeting, was a promised response to President Donald Trump’s executive order on increased immigration enforcement of undocumented immigrants.  

Today, the County reaffirmed its commitment to see that undocumented immigrants who face deportation receive legal representation, understand the process and know their rights regardless of their citizenship status,” said Board President Dave Cortese.  

The plan includes $2.7 million to fund new attorneys and support staff at community-based organizations that will provide direct legal representation to immigrants in removal proceedings, as well as funding for the coordination of pro bono legal services. The plan will assist an estimated 900 individuals with either legal representation or legal services.   

The plan also includes a combined $600,000 to implement a Know-Your-Rights education and media campaign to inform immigrant residents of their rights when interacting with immigration authorities at home, in the work place and in the community. Another $500,000 was added for work for the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program.  

In December, Board President Cortese and Supervisor Cindy Chavez called for a   plan to provide legal representation and community outreach in anticipation of changes in immigration policies. In February, the board directed $1.8 million to be invested in legal representation and an additional amount recommended by administration for a Know Your Rights Campaign and outreach to media. On a motion by Supervisor Chavez, the total amount was increased to $3.3 million.

This is a fund we can grow,” said Chavez. “Money may become available from the state and from fundraising, in partnership with the institution that is doing the pro bono work.”  

Cortese added, “The plan we approved today is a strategy among many that we have to protect our interests, values and residents, regardless of citizenship status.  Ultimately, this is a matter of keeping families together and safe.”