Mayoral candidate Angela Alioto plans to collect signatures for a November ballot measure that would strip down San Francisco’s sanctuary city protections for undocumented immigrants.
The proposed ballot measure would allow law enforcement to report undocumented immigrants to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if the person has been booked into County Jail on suspicion of a felony, or booked on a lesser crime than a felony but had a previous felony conviction.
The proposal would also permit city agencies including police to report undocumented immigrants who were previously convicted of a felony.
“The existing Sanctuary City Ordinance is a magnet for felons across America to come to the safe shores of our City,” Alioto said in a statement. “It makes San Francisco a more violent and unsafe city.”
Alioto declared her intent late Wednesday to collect the 9,485 signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot, criticizing San Francisco’s current sanctuary city policy for allowing “murderers, rapists, child molesters and other felons safe harbor in our city.”
San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies, which limit cooperation between city agencies and federal immigration officials, are meant to ensure undocumented immigrants report crimes and cooperate with police investigations without fear of deportation. Such policies have been adopted by cities and counties nationwide and are touted as a way to increase community safety.
“As a self-proclaimed civil rights lawyer who protects the public, she should know better,” former Supervisor John Avalos, who amended San Francisco’s sanctuary city law as recently as 2016, told the San Francisco Examiner. “She should also be familiar with the protections of due process that are guaranteed in our constitution.”
Avalos criticized Alioto for “playing into” the furor around the killing of 32-year-old Kate Steinle by an undocumented immigrant in July 2015.
Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a Mexican national, shot and killed Steinle on a San Francisco pier months after the Sheriff’s Department released him from jail without notifying immigration authorities.
San Francisco drew nationwide scrutiny from conservative media and President Donald Trump over the shooting, which defense attorneys argued was accidental. A jury later found Garcia Zarate not guilty of murder and lesser charges.
Supervisor David Campos, who has also worked on San Francisco’s sanctuary city law, said the proposed ballot measure “is probably the most Trumpian thing that any San Francisco politician has done since the election of Donald Trump.”
“The one person I know that is very happy and pleased with this is Donald Trump,” Campos told the Examiner. “I think that if he lived in San Francisco he would vote for Angela Alioto”
Alioto, a former supervisor and the only mayoral candidate endorsed by the San Francisco Police Officers Association, said she has worked on the sanctuary city law since 1989. Her proposed revision would not apply to juveniles and would continue to prevent law enforcement from stopping or questioning a person based on their immigration status or perceived national origin.
“Our intent was never to protect illegal immigrants who were also felons,” Alioto told the Examiner. “I don’t think that we should be protecting dangerous felons.”
Alioto said she is scheduled to appear on Fox News.
Click here to view the proposed ballot measure.