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Sanctuary City Law Still in Place in San Francisco

handcuffs-219261_640The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday October 20 unanimously agreed to reaffirm the city’s sanctuary laws regarding undocumented immigrants.

For 25 years, San Francisco has had a policy that prevents local law enforcement from turning in undocumented immigrants arrested for nonviolent crimes to federal agents, even at agents’ requests. However, four months ago it came under scrutiny when Kathryn Stienle, a San Francisco resident, was allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant who had just been released from custody under the sanctuary city law.

This event didn’t deter the Board of Supervisors, though, as they were not ready to let one event change the shape of a policy that had been in place for 25 years.

Board member David Campos – who was a co-sponsor of the resolution – said he was proud of San Francisco for its sanctuary city law. “I’m so proud that notwithstanding the climate at the national level of scapegoating immigrants that San Francisco went against that,” he said, “This will send a very strong message to the rest of the country that we’re not going to have local law enforcement become arms of immigration.”

Campos referenced the story of Maria Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant trapped in an abusive relationship for 10 years, who told him she almost lost her leg when her boyfriend tried to run her over with his car. Campos said Hernandez never went to the police because she was too afraid she would get deported and leave her daughters without a mom.

San Francisco’s mayor also voiced support of the resolution. Ed Lee, who appeared briefly at the board meeting before the motion was passed, thanked President Barack Obama and California senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, for opposing the anti-sanctuary city bill, saying “I firmly believe our city’s sanctuary city law makes us safer and helps support immigrant communities.”

Similarly, District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim said rescinding the sanctuary city policy and the sheriff’s policy (banning sheriff’s department employees from directly communicating or coordinating with federal immigration officials) would do nothing to improve public safety, because what’s really needed to help with the growing violence in the country is more gun control.

The sanctuary movement is said to have grown out of church efforts in the 1980s, from those providing sanctuary to Central Americans fleeing violence at home amid the federal government’s reluctance to grant them refugee status. Now there are over 340 sanctuary jurisdictions in the United States, and they are said to release an estimated 1000 criminal immigrants per month.

If you would like legal counsel, or more information on sanctuary city laws across the country and how they might affect you, please get in touch with Daniella Lyttle at Lyttle Law Firm. You can get in touch either through the website or by calling 512-215-5225.