San Francisco Rescinds Policy Requiring Immigration Checks of Arrested Juveniles
The San Francisco board of supervisors yesterday reversed a policy that had required the city to check the immigration status of every juvenile arrested on suspicion of having committed a felony. The city will still check the immigration status of those convicted of felonies, but supervisors said the original rule, instituted by Mayor Gavin Newsom, was resulting in the unwarranted deportation of children and breakup of families.
San Francisco’s move comes amid a growing debate over the legitimacy of allowing local authorities to enforce immigration laws and turn illegal immigrants over to federal authorities. The city had in the past declared itself a “sanctuary city,” meaning city money could not be used for immigration enforcement. Newsom changed the rules last summer to require police to contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement whenever they arrest a juvenile on felony charges, if they suspect the child is in the country illegally.
The policy became controversial when people realized it had caused more than 100 undocumented children to be turned over to federal immigration authorities, which could then place them in deportation proceedings.
The changes approved Tuesday still require the city to report undocumented juveniles to ICE after they’ve been convicted of a crime.
“We recognize that there’s a need to do some reporting” of illegal juveniles, David Campos, the supervisor who sponsored the new ordinance, told the New York Times. “But we’re trying to strike a balance.”