San Francisco Politicians Vote to Remain Sanctuary City


On Tuesday, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted to keep San Francisco a sanctuary city. The vote followed a highly publicized murder of a young woman by an illegal immigrant who had been deported several times and had a lengthy criminal rap sheet.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday that urges the sheriff not to participate in a detainer-notification system that asks jails to let Immigration Customs and Enforcement officials know when an inmate of interest is being released.

"All of us in this room agree that the death of Kathryn Steinle was senseless and tragic, but what many of us disagree on is the role — if any — that San Francisco's existing sanctuary and due-process-for-all" ordinances played in the event, Supervisor Malia Cohen said to cheers from the crowd that gathered for the meeting.

The Supervisors said they would not let the tragic murder effect a policy that embraces immigrants and improves public safety.

"I'm so proud of San Francisco," Supervisor David Campos, a co-sponsor said after the vote. "I'm so proud that notwithstanding the climate at the national level of scapegoating immigrants that San Francisco went against that."

San Francisco declared itself a sanctuary city in 1989, passing an ordinance that bans city officials from enforcing immigration laws or asking about immigration status unless required by law or court order. A follow-up ordinance in 2013 allows detention only under a court order targeting violent felons.

San Francisco and other cities and counties have routinely ignored requests from ICE to keep people in custody. The jurisdictions say they can't hold arrestees beyond their scheduled release dates without probable cause.

A spokesman for San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said that the vote of the county Supervisors validates the city's sanctuary policy.