Supervisor trying to keep San Francisco a sanctuary city
September 24, 2015
Despite national outcry over an illegal immigrant allegedly murdering Cal Poly grad Kate Steinle, a supervisor is pushing for San Francisco to keep its status as a sanctuary city. [Mercury News]
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos introduced a resolution Wednesday urging the city not to participate in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program in which law enforcement personnel notify ICE officials about illegal immigrants before they are released from custody. The ICE campaign is called the Priority Enforcement Program.
Campos said the program damages confidence in local law enforcement among immigrant communities and leads to civil rights violations. It also risks the separation of families or scapegoating immigrants, Campos said.
San Francisco has kept a sanctuary city law on the books since 1989. In 2013, the city also passed the Due Process for All ordinance which prohibits law enforcement from holding individuals on an immigration detainer after they become eligible for release from custody.
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi cited the ordinance as justification for the release of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who is accused of killing Steinle. Lopez-Sanchez allegedly shot Steinle in the back while she was walking with her father on Pier 14 on July 1.
Lopez-Sanchez has been deported to Mexico five times. San Francisco sheriff’s personnel released him from jail in March after prosecutors dropped a 20-year-old marijuana case against him.
Lopez-Sanchez had recently been in federal custody. But, federal officials transferred him to local custody on a warrant in the marijuana case.
Campos also introduced a resolution calling on San Francisco law enforcement agencies to develop policies for checking to see whether warrants have expired and for checking if prosecutors are likely to file charges before a suspect is transferred into city custody.
Additionally, Campos said he plans to introduce an ordinance next week requiring all law enforcement personnel to keep their guns securely locked when they are off-duty.
The gun used in the Steinle shooting was a service weapon that belonged to a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ranger, the BLM has confirmed. The gun was stolen days before the shooting.
Steinle’s death has ignited a national debate over the concept of sanctuary cities and federal restrictions that bar local law enforcement from handing off illegal immigrants to ICE. Jim Steinle, Kate’s father, testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, urging lawmakers to abolish local policies of ignoring ICE detainers.
Last week, the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee passed a resolution opposing participation in ICE’s Priority Enforcement Program. Campos is urging the board of supervisors to follow suit.