San Francisco has triggered a national debate over its decision to register undocumented migrants to vote in school board elections. However, a more pressing controversy may be the amount of money spent on the effort. San Francisco spent $310,000 to register just 49 people in the city. That translates to $6,326 a vote. The measure has created an interesting split among advocates as some have warned the city could be giving ICE a ready-made list for roundups of deportations.
Since July, the city has been trying to get undocumented migrants onto the vote rolls for school board elections in the Nov. 6 election.
Despite funding increases, the school system is facing budget cuts this year due to rising costs.
The city has been moving in different directions on the program — spending money to register voters while others want to spend money to deter registration out of fear of ICE. Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer asked the city to spend as much as $500,000 to warn undocumented residents that their registration information could be obtained by ICE. Mary Mark Farrell blocked the request.
ICE could conceivably seek the lists with a subpoena for the addresses of those individuals deemed illegal aliens under immigration laws. That could create a serious federalism conflict if the city officials try to bar release under state or municipal law to federal officials who are seeking the information under federal law.