Supes pass new Sanctuary City policy

San Francisco supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved an update to the Sanctuary City policy that places strict limits on communication by local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities.

The revised policy allows law enforcement to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials about a criminal suspect only if the suspect is being held on a serious felony and has been convicted of a violent felony in the past seven years, certain types of serious felonies in the past five years or three separate felonies in the past five years.

Supervisor John Avalos introduced the legislation this year following controversy over the fatal 2015 shooting of Kate Steinle, allegedly by an undocumented immigrant, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who had been released from custody a short time earlier.

The shooting sparked national criticism of San Francisco’s Sanctuary City policies, which are intended to encourage cooperation and trust between police and immigrant communities.

Then-Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi came under fire for his decision to release Lopez-Sanchez without notifying federal authorities and current Sheriff Vickie Hennessey, who was then running for office, promised a review of sheriff’s department procedures.

The final legislation approved today was the result of lengthy negotiations, and passed with the full support of the board, Hennessey and other city officials.

Avalos said:

“What’s significant about this legislation is that we’re united on it. … That’s a better place to be if we’re going to uphold a Sanctuary City policy in the face of political pressure.”