On Tuesday, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to maintain its status as a sanctuary city for immigrants, a decisive response to the national controversy that bubbled up after last summer’s murder of a San Francisco woman at the hands of an undocumented Mexican immigrant with a felony record.
For 26 years, San Francisco has has upheld a sanctuary law preventing city employees from cooperating with federal efforts to enforce immigration unless compelled to by a court order. The goal of this law is to encourage the undocumented community to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation of crimes without fearing that they’ll be deported in the process. This measure is often necessary in order to identify dangerous criminals and improve public safety, which is why these types of laws and policies have wide support from police departments and law enforcement organizations all over the country.
Critics of sanctuary policies, however, used July’s murder as an opportunity to suggest that sanctuary cities are in fact simply safe havens for “illegal” criminals. In a clear message to these critics, the city’s Board of Supervisors refused to let an isolated incident characterize an entire group of people. On Tuesday, they asked the police not to let Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) know when an undocumented immigrant has been arrested, which would give way to deportation, according to Fox News Latino.
“I’m so proud of San Francisco,” said Supervisor David Campos, who co-sponsored the resolution. “I’m so proud that notwithstanding the climate at the national level of scapegoating immigrants that San Francisco went against that.”
It’s a double victory because Republican members of the Senate were unsuccessful in their attempt to pass a law that would penalize sanctuary cities.