Starting today, San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey will begin releasing undocumented immigrants suspected of low-level offenses who were being held in jail because of their immigration status.
Hennessey announced in early May that he would not fully comply with the controversial Secure Communities program, which requires that fingerprints of undocumented immigrants booked into local jails be shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
The sheriff said his decision to ignore Secure Communities requests to detain people suspected of low-level misdemeanors came after a talk last November with David Venturella, the director of the program.
Hennessey said Venturella revealed that the ICE detainers are merely requests, not legally binding warrants.
He said his new policy is in line with San Francisco’s sanctuary city law and doesn’t violate federal or state law.
ICE officials last month called Hennessey’s decision “unfortunate,” and said the program has aided in the removal of many dangerous undocumented immigrants from the U.S.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News