Feds ask Newsom to ease city's sanctuary policies

Federal immigration officials have asked Mayor Gavin Newsom to ease sanctuary laws following a triple homicide last month in which the main suspect was an illegal immigrant undergoing deportation proceedings.

Edwin Ramos pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three counts of murder with special circumstances attached because of Ramos’ alleged gang affiliation. The 21-year-old from El Salvador is charged with gunning down Tony Bologna, 48, and his two sons, Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, with an AK-47 following a traffic altercation in the Excelsior district on June 22. Police say Ramos is a member of the MS-13 gang. He is being held without bail.

The case has put a national spotlight on San Francisco’s Sanctuary City policy as federal officials and the San Francisco sheriff publicly debate who is responsible for the release of an illegal immigrant with a criminal record, who should have been deported. Meanwhile, District Attorney Kamala Harris is being asked to reconsider her death penalty stance.

On Tuesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials charged that The City previously released Ramos on April 2, allowing him to kill the Bolognas family. ICE officials say he was released before checking to see if he should be held for deportation — contradicting an assertion by San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey that federal officials were properly notified.

Ramos and another man had been arrested and held in late March, after police discovered a gun used in a double homicide in the car Ramos was driving. He was released April 2 after the District Attorney’s Office did not file charges.

The City’s Sanctuary City Ordinance prohibits city officials from reporting illegal immigrants unless such help is required by federal or state law or a warrant. Local law enforcement officers may inform ICE that they have arrested someone for a felony offense or who has a prior felony conviction, if officers become aware that the arrested person is an undocumented immigrant. However, city officials dealing with youths refused to report the illegal status of underaged felons, and Ramos reportedly was convicted of two felonies in 2003 and 2004, but never turned over for deportation.

In a letter sent to Newsom on Wednesday, ICE assistant secretary Julie L. Myers asked for additional access to records.

“The Sheriff’s Department currently has a policy that limit’s ICE’s ability to review booking, housing or computer documents,” Myers wrote. “Furthermore, ICE agents are not allowed to review any department logs or records that are maintained concerning prisoners identified as foreign nationals.”

Newsom’s office referred calls for comment to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department; a spokeswoman for the agency, Eileen Hirst, said they’ve worked “cooperatively with ICE” and were not aware of any federal statute they have violated.

maldax@sfexaminer

Bay Area NewsLocal

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

Outdoor dining, as seen here at Mama’s on Washington Square in North Beach in September, is expected to resume in San Franisco this week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to reopen outdoor dining, personal services

San Francisco will allow outdoor dining and other limited business activity to… Continue reading

Patients line up in their cars to receive a shot at The City’s first mass COVID-19 vaccination site at City College of San Francisco on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Legislation would require SF to create a public COVID-19 vaccine plan — fast

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health would have to come up with… Continue reading

Ian Jameson (center) organized a group of tenant rights activists and assembled at the El Monte City Hall to demand that the City Council there pass an eviction moratorium barring all evictions during the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, March 29, 2020. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
California would extend eviction protections to June 30 under proposal

Legislation released Monday would also subsidize rent for low-income tenants

A statue of Florence Nightingale outside the Laguna Honda Hospital is one of only two statues of women in The City. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
S.F. still falling short of goal to represent women in public art

City has few streets or public facilities not named after men

Comedian and actor Bob Odenkirk is among the dozens of performers in Festpocalypse, streaming this weekend to benefit SF Sketchfest. (Courtesy photo)
Bob Odenkirk joins star-studded Festpocalypse gang

Virtual comedy benefit replaces SF Sketchfest this year

Most Read