San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is unlikely to engage in a public debate with Supervisor David Campos over Campos’ proposed change to the city’s sanctuary ordinance, a mayor’s spokesman said today.

Campos made the offer in a letter to Newsom earlier today, urging “a public discussion” on Newsom’s plan to defy legislation that would require undocumented youth accused of serious crimes to be referred by the city to federal immigration authorities only upon conviction. The city currently refers them when they are booked into custody.

“The Board and the people of San Francisco deserve to understand more fully why you intend to ignore this policy and the time honored democratic processes followed in enacting it,” Campos wrote.

“It is unlikely that the mayor will be accepting this offer,” Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard later said.

San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinance prohibits city employees from assisting federal immigration authorities, with exceptions for those booked for felony crimes.

The Board of Supervisors gave final approval to Campos’ amendment last week, by a veto-proof 8-3 majority, prompting cheers from immigration advocates.

Days later, Newsom vetoed it, saying the current incarnation of the sanctuary ordinance “struck the appropriate balance between offering a welcoming hand to the immigrant community and protecting the public safety of the city.”

“The mayor and the supervisor have already made their views known about the issue,” said Ballard, “and now the mayor is moving forward with the only sensible course of action.”

“He has vetoed the bill,” Ballard said. “If the supervisors override the veto, the mayor will ensure that our law enforcement officials are not placed in legal jeopardy by the supervisors’ actions.”

In his veto, Newsom said sanctuary “was never meant to serve as a shield for people accused of committing serious crimes in our city.”

He further quoted a memo from the city attorney’s office, which approved Campos’ legislation for submission but nevertheless warned about “a serious risk that a court will find that federal law preempts the proposed Amendment, and possibly the entire Sanctuary City ordinance.”

Newsom contends the city is bound by federal law not to prohibit local law enforcement from reporting those booked for felonies and suspected of being in the country illegally, and that the courts have held the practice of reporting at the booking stage does not deny due process.

Campos argued in his letter that Newsom’s veto raises more questions than it answers. He claimed federal law does not require the city to participate in immigration enforcement activities, and that the confidentiality of juvenile records is protected under state law.

Campos said his proposed amendment is “legally tenable” and that the time at which youth are referred to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement “is ultimately not a legal decision but a policy decision.”

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on an overturn of Newsom’s veto at its meeting on Nov. 10.

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  • Jay

    “”The Board and the people of San Francisco deserve to understand more fully why you intend to ignore this policy and the time honored democratic processes followed in enacting it,” Campos wrote.”

    No, Mr. Campos. The people of San Francisco want to know why you are putting the safety of the citizens of this great city at risk; why you insist on siding with gang-bangers, drug dealers, and other thugs.

    We have enough crime in this city; we don’t need more criminals running amok. Look at the murder rate in the Mission. Can you look the victims’ families in the eye and tell them honestly that this is a good policy?

    Enough with this demagoguery. I know this is the only way you can get elected, so I’m not surprised.