San Francisco to Pay Undocumented Immigrant $190K for Violating Sanctuary Policy

Jose Vasquez, CBS, June 28, 2017

San Francisco taxpayers could soon pay $190,000 in a lawsuit settlement with an undocumented immigrant who claimed he was reported to federal immigration authorities in violation of the city’s sanctuary city ordinance, the City Attorney’s office confirms to KPIX5.

The settlement is expected to be confirmed by San Francisco supervisors in future hearings.

Pedro Figueroa-Zarceno walked into the police station on December 2, 2015 to recover his stolen car.

When he left the station, he was immediately taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A document from federal immigration authorities released by his attorneys indicates that a San Francisco police officer directly contacted ICE and told them where to find Figueroa-Zarceno, the man’s attorneys and representatives said Wednesday.

The apparent incident, which led to the two-month detention of Figueroa-Zarceno, could be a violation of Sanctuary City policies placing limits on local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with immigration officials, according to his attorneys.

Figueroa-Zarceno, a native of El Salvador with a fiancee who is a U.S. citizen and an eight-year-old daughter, was released Wednesday.

Speaking through an interpreter, Figueroa-Zarceno said that once he was at the station he was detained and handcuffed, and told that police needed to ask him questions. No questions were asked, but after a few minutes he was released out a side door, where an ICE agent was waiting outside to detain him.

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The city approved a Sanctuary City policy in 1989 prohibiting city officials from enforcing immigration laws in most cases as a way to encourage immigrant communities to trust and cooperate with police.

A second 2013 ordinance, Due Process for All, prohibits San Francisco law enforcement from detaining people on behalf of immigration authorities for deportation unless they are wanted for a serious crime.

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ICE officials confirmed the detention but would not comment on the documents released Friday.

Zachary Nightingale, Figueroa-Zarceno’s attorney, said the document shows that while he served two days for a DUI in 2012, there were no criminal warrants for Figueroa-Zarceno in the system, only a civil deportation order dating back to 2005.

A judge has since reopened Figueroa-Zarceno’s immigration case after finding that the initial order was given without proper notification, and a new hearing is now scheduled for 2019, Nightingale said.

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