Supervisors Escalate Fight About Sanctuary Law

Erin Sherbert, San Francisco Examiner, March 4, 2010

City supervisors on Thursday publicly blasted the Juvenile Probation Department chief for refusing to change his policies of reporting to immigration authorities undocumented youths who have been arrested on suspicion of felonies.

During the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee meeting, Supervisor David Campos put William Siffermann, chief of the Juvenile Probation Department, in the hot seat, questioning him for violating The City’s recently amended sanctuary law, and saying the department’s current policies are an open invitation for racial profiling.

{snip} But Siffermann remained unwavering in his position that the department would be violating federal law if it shielded undocumented youths who had been arrested. He said that in May 2008, federal authorities detained probation officers, interrogated them and threatened to charge them for not reporting undocumented youths that had been arrested.

The U.S. attorney general has since convened a federal grand jury, and that investigation is still pending, Siffermann told supervisors.

{snip}

In July 2008, Mayor Gavin Newsom implemented the sanctuary law, which required probation officers to report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement undocumented youths who had been arrested on suspicion of a felony. In November, supervisors amended that ordinance so probation officers could only report undocumented youths when they had been convicted of a felony.

Newsom issued a statement Thursday reiterating his stance.

{snip}

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