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BART directors introduce ‘sanctuary in transit’ policy to protect immigrants

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(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)

BART police may soon obey a unique “sanctuary in transit” policy that’s meant to protect undocumented immigrants who use the transit system.

Modeled after the controversial Sanctuary City policies followed by cities like San Francisco and New York City, which are now targeted with the potential loss of federal funding by President Donald Trump for such policies, BART’s sanctuary transit policy would direct BART police to limit collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal agencies.

Sanctuary policies are meant to foster a working relationship between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, so they can report crime without fear of deportation.

The sanctuary in transit policy was introduced by BART directors Lateefah Simon and Nick Josefowitz at Thursday’s regular Board of Directors meeting. Simon represents Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties, and Josefowitz represents San Francisco.

At the meeting many public commenters spoke in favor of the measure.

“I have planned my life around the BART system, I am a proud Muslim American,“ said transit rider Sabiha Basrai during public comment.

“I’m so glad to see BART courageous,” she said. “I’m heartened to know the people who run this transit system want it to be a place where I’m not afraid.”

The motion at the BART board meeting Thursday directed the board’s Operations & Safety Committee to take up a Sanctuary in Transit policy at its next meeting, which, if moved forward, would be voted on by the full board at a later date.

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