While San Francisco is officially a “City and County of Refuge” for immigrants who entered the country illegally, San Mateo County is not.
Dozens of protesters gathered in San Francisco today to identify solutions in response to anti-immigration sentiments spurred by the shooting death of a woman on July 1 on a San Francisco pier allegedly by an undocumented immigrant from Mexico with a history of felony convictions and who had been deported five times after repeatedly entering the US illegally. They say public safety is improved when immigrants can work with local police without fear of deportation. He had been deported five times.
Now the administration is pushing something called the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), which asks local law enforcement to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when it plans to release what local authorities suspect is an illegal immigrant – something that officials in San Francisco failed to do.
“The Marion County jail will no longer hold foreign-born persons in jail based exclusively on formal requests from federal immigration officials, Sheriff Jason Myers announced Thursday”. Before policymakers rush to judgment, we need answers on what actually went wrong here. Rather, like many other jurisdictions around the country, the sheriff’s department requires a judicial warrant before it will imprison someone at ICE’s request.
Sheriff’s officials have been hosting community input meetings to determine how best to implement the PEP program, with a report due back to the Board of Supervisors in August. He pleaded guilty to false imprisonment of his wife and was given probation plus prohibited from carrying a gun. If the program had been in place in San Francisco, a phone call might have kept Sanchez off the streets.
A little bit of common sense and discretion might have prevented the killing this month in San Francisco of Kathryn Steinle – a victim not only of random gunfire but of the mindless handling of the city’s immigration policy.
The district attorney’s office declined to prosecute. By that sorry standard, the sheriff followed city law in not complying with the federal detainer. Immigrants say they are experiencing a backlash.
“It’s not legal to hold someone on a request to detain”.
“I strongly believe that an undocumented individual, convicted of multiple felonies and with a detainer request from ICE, should not have been released”.
Many of those favoring stricter immigration enforcement referenced the San Francisco slaying of Steinle. In fact, according to many estimates, between 40 and 60 percent of the current unauthorized immigrant population-about 11 million people-entered legally but either overstayed or violated the terms of their visa, perhaps by dropping out of school, working without authorization, or changing jobs when their visa was tied to a specific employer.
Actually, most Republicans argue that any immigration reform policy has to address border security first, which certainly sounds like it’s right on point.
The Remembrance Project is appealing to people and organizations across the country to sign its “Boycott San Francisco” petition and to boycott the City until it revokes its sanctuary policy.
Supporters of sanctuary protections have jumped on O’Reilly and others for politicizing the death.
For Munks, it’s all about public safety. “I feel like originally we had a lot of support from the immigrant community – and then the opposition started turning out”.
“By ICE’s own numbers, 95 percent of the people they used to arrest, that they’ve already identified, that they want to take custody of, are getting out of jail before they can get to them”.