Elsewhere: Standoff over sanctuary law Chron
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos today again assailed the city’s refusal to implement his amendment of the sanctuary ordinance.
Campos’ amendment, passed last November, prohibits undocumented youth accused of felonies from being reported to federal immigration authorities until conviction.
Currently the city reports juveniles suspected of being in the country illegally at the booking stage after a felony arrest.
“What we have in place is a policy that doesn’t make sense,” Campos said today at a hearing of the board’s rules committee.
Campos’ law required that the city’s juvenile probation department alter its policies and procedures by last month, but the department has refused, citing the threat of federal prosecution of its employees.
William Siffermann, chief probation officer of the juvenile probation department, defended the city’s stance at today’s hearing, quoting a provision in the new law that notes his department should comply “to the extent permitted by state and federal law.”
“Until these issues of federal, civil and criminal law are resolved by the courts, the department cannot modify its present policies and practices,” Siffermann said.
Mayor Gavin Newsom today backed up Siffermann in a written statement saying, “The sanctuary ordinance as originally conceived and adopted was designed to protect all residents of our city, not as a shield for felons and criminal behavior.”
“I will not put our city staff, our sanctuary city policy and thousands of residents at risk to shield felony criminal behavior by a few,” Newsom said.
University of San Francisco law professor Bill Ong Hing, speaking at the hearing, insisted that Campos’ amendment did not conflict with federal law.
“There’s nothing that prohibits this ordinance,” Hing said.
“When they say, ‘Oh, we’re afraid that we’re going to be prosecuted for transporting undocumented immigrants,’ that has never happened,” he said.
Angela Chan, an attorney for the Asian Law Caucus, said immigration advocates are hoping to keep up the pressure on the city to adopt Campos’ law, and will continue to “show the public how inhumane and illogical this is getting.”
In addition, civil rights groups are weighing a court challenge to San Francisco’s refusal to implement Campos’ law, according to Chan.
“Litigation is a possibility,” Chan said.