S.F. sanctuary policy leaves age-old questions unturned

Lost in all the deep-heated debate of the city’s new sanctuary city policy is a fundamental question about the merits of selecting a protected class of non-documented immigrants by age.

As in, why differentiate a 17-year-old from an 18-year-old? Could it be because 18-year-olds are supposed to be more mature and could somehow withstand being deported and separated from their families?

If the whole idea is to protect school-age children and teens, apparently someone failed to take into consideration that a lot of high-school seniors are adults as far as the criminal justice system is concerned. (Under the new law, juveniles in San Francisco accused of felonies wouldn’t be turned over to immigration officials until after they are found guilty of their alleged crimes.)

That’s why so much of the rhetoric over this protracted fight to protect juveniles doesn’t make sense. They get as much “due process,’’ if not more, than adults who are arrested. That point was brought home by a local report outlining how one Honduran youth got leniency from the San Francisco courts, and has been deported and re-arrested several times since for dealing crack.

He’s now looking at a year in jail from the same judge who let him off on probation earlier. And it turns out, according to statistics compiled by the sheriff’s department, that a lot of these ‘’poor’’ juveniles facing deportation are not engaged in petty crimes, but are accused of dealing drugs, robbery and assault.

Somehow the argument over the moral equivalency in deciding a 16-year-old could be protected and an 18-year-old could be whisked out of the country by federal immigration officials – because that’s apparently alright with a majority of supervisors – didn’t receive due process.
 

Bay Area Newsken garciaNews ColumnistsSan Franciscosanctuary policy

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