City’s sanctuary policy battle far from over

Some city workers will be faced with the dilemma of whether to violate San Francisco law or violate state and federal law after the approval Tuesday of The City’s new sanctuary policy.

The guidelines, which set out rules for how city employees handle undocumented immigrants, previously mandated that illegal immigrant youths arrested on suspicion of a felony be reported to federal authorities at the time of arrest. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved legislation by Supervisor David Campos that would change the rules so illegal immigrant youths are turned over only after being found guilty.

The San Francisco Deputy Probation Officers Association, whose workers deal with juvenile offenders and have been tasked with reporting illegal immigrant youths to the federal government, “strongly disagrees with any local legislation that puts its members at risk of violating state or federal law,” association president Gabriel Calvillo said Wednesday.

And Calvillo threw his support behind Mayor Gavin Newsom.

“The DPOA agrees with Mayor Newsom’s decision to continue to follow the guidelines dictated by federal law on this matter,” he said. “It was my call, after consulting with our legal counsel, that this will be the best course of action to safeguard our members.”

Calvillo’s position has done little to change the Campos’ stance.

“The fact remains that the policy is legally defensible and we expect them to follow it,” Campos said. “Until a court says it is unconstitutional or illegal, city officials should be expected to follow the law.”

The law is unclear, according to a recent memo from the City Attorney’s Office about Campos’ legislation, and “until the federal courts clarify whether sanctuary city ordinances are preempted by federal law, [the office] will continue to advise city officials that The City may not penalize its employees for reporting this information to ICE.”

Officials in City Hall expect Newsom’s stance to ignore the law will ultimately be decided by the courts when a lawsuit is filed against The City, either for violating the new policy or for adhering to it.

It’s not uncommon for The City to enact legislation that becomes the target of legal challenges.

“The legislative authority of the Board and the Mayor includes the prerogative to push the limits of existing law, and even to attempt to shape case law, as long as there are legally tenable arguments to support doing so,” a recent city attorney memo said.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsimmigrationLocalPoliticsSan Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

The San Francisco Giants celebrate team legend Willie Mays' 90th birthday before taking on the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on May 7, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Willie Mays returns to the ballpark for a special birthday bash

Giants celebrate No. 24’s 90th in an intimate party for a few thousand friends

Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting has expanded the range of people who can request a gun violence restraining order against someone. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Use of gun violence restraining orders continues to rise

For the fourth year in a row, the number of gun violence… Continue reading

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the pandemic. 
Steven Ho/
Special to S.F. Examiner
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Most Read