Legislation prohibiting San Francisco law enforcement from complying with most federal immigration detainer requests was signed into law today by Mayor Ed Lee.
The mayor signed the “due process for all” ordinance, authored by Supervisor John Avalos, at a ceremony held this afternoon in the board chambers at City Hall.
By passing the law, San Francisco is opting out of participation in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities program.
The S-Comm program includes running someone’s fingerprints through an electronic database at the time of their arrest to determine their immigration status.
ICE requests local law enforcement to detain those who show up as undocumented immigrants when they would otherwise be released.
Avalos has said the program ensnares innocent people and also makes undocumented immigrants hesitant to report crimes out of fear of deportation.
“No one here should have any fear again,” he said today. “If you’re an immigrant and a victim, call the police.”
Lee commended Avalos “for leading the charge against ICE and the Secure Communities program.”
He thanked the supervisors for approving amendments to the legislation that he had sought to give the sheriff’s department discretion to comply with the hold requests in certain situations.
The law will allow for holds if the detainee has been convicted of a violent crime or one like human trafficking within the past seven years and is in custody again for a similar offense.
“We kept focused on the common ground,” Lee said.
The Board of Supervisors gave final approval to the legislation in a unanimous vote last week.
According to immigrant rights advocates, nearly 800 people have been deported from the city in the past three years via the S-Comm program.
“This policy sends a strong message across the nation that cruel and unjust deportations must end,” Avalos said.
“As we work to implement this policy to the fullest, we will strengthen our efforts at the local, state and national levels,” he said.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News