San Francisco Re-Approves Sanctuary City Law

Posted: Oct 28, 2009 12:14 PM
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors agreed yesterday on a measure to prohibit law enforcement officials from turning over minors convicted of felonies over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement following their arrest. 

The city's mayor had previously opposed this policy after the city protected young offenders, including Edwin Ramos, an undocumented immigrant and suspected gang member from El Salvador who was charged with multiple felonies as a minor, who was able to stay in the U.S. following his arrest because of sanctuary city regulations.  Ramos is now awaiting trial for a triple-murder charge.  Nice.

Since the mayor changed the policy, 149 undocumented juveniles charged with felonies have been referred to immigration officials, ICE said.

The newly approved measure is supported by civil rights groups, immigrant advocates and the Juvenile Division of the Public Defender's Office, who contend it restores the right of minors to due process and gives them a chance to defend themselves before facing possible deportation and separation from their families. ...

Those siding with the mayor -- the police chief and district attorney, among others -- argue the new ordinance will force officers to go against federal law by shielding undocumented immigrants and exposing the city to lawsuits.

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"The mayor is not going to force his own law enforcement officials to break state and federal law just because supervisors have made this Quixotic gesture," said Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for Newsom. "If you have committed a serious crime, there is no sanctuary for you."

The measure must now go to Newsom, who has said he would veto it. Supervisors have said they would overturn his veto, a move likely to touch off a legal fight.