The San Francisco supervisor who introduced recently passed legislation to amend the city’s sanctuary ordinance is now demanding that Mayor Gavin Newsom implement it.
The new law, passed by the Board of Supervisors after overturning a veto by Newsom on Nov. 10, amends the sanctuary ordinance to prohibit undocumented youth accused of felonies from being reported to federal immigration authorities until conviction.
The city has for more than a year been reporting adults and juveniles suspected of being in the country illegally to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the booking stage after a felony arrest. The deportation decision is up to an immigration judge.
The new legislation, introduced by Supervisor David Campos, went into effect today.
Campos, who says the issue is about civil rights and due process for undocumented immigrant youth, sent a letter today to City Attorney Dennis Herrera asking for a written opinion on whether the mayor has the authority to “to unilaterally refuse to implement the duly-enacted” law.
Newsom has maintained he will not implement the law. He’s said 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.
The Juvenile Probation Department has 60 days from today to change its policies and practices to comply with the new ordinance.
In his letter, Campos called the mayor’s decision “nothing short of unprecedented” and one that “would undermine the democratic process.”
Campos said it “would establish the dangerous precedent that a mayor can disregard legislation that the Board properly passed.”
“We may have a strong-mayor system of government, but it is not a monarchy,” he said.
Campos argued that only the courts have the authority to decide whether passed legislation is indeed valid.
Matt Dorsey, the chief spokesman for Dennis Herrera, confirmed today that his office had received Campos’ request.
“We are in the process of preparing a comprehensive legal analysis, and until that is completed, it would be premature for us to comment,” Dorsey said.
In August, Herrera’s office approved the drafting of Campos’ ordinance but at the same time warned it might put the city at risk for lawsuits.
Newsom has said that he would not put city employees and law enforcement in danger of being sued in federal court–a possibility given that U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello has recently said he would not provide assurances that employees who implement the ordinance would be immune from federal prosecution.
Newsom’s office did not return calls for comment on the issue today.