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San Francisco poised to revive ‘sanctuary city’ after feds deport more than 100 non-criminals

SF Public Press
 — Apr 15 2011 - 1:37pm
UPDATE 5/2/11: Sherriff Michael Hennessey wrote an op-ed piece in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle explaining his position on Secure Communities.
San Francisco is set to revive a portion of its long-standing “sanctuary city” policy, which until last June protected undocumented immigrants arrested on minor criminal charges from the scrutiny of federal officials.
The 1989 policy shielded people arrested on non-felony charges without felony histories from being reported, and then turned over to, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
But last June, a controversial program called Secure Communities rolled out in San Francisco, automatically sending identification and fingerprints to a database that allowed officials to flag suspected violators of immigration law. Authorities could then use that knowledge to request law enforcement agencies to hold suspects for detention and possible deportation.

View Secure Communities Deportations in CA in a full screen map

The map shows deportations in California for non-criminal and minor offenses under the Secure Communities program. Click on the flag to see details about each county. Source: Department of Homeland Security. Map by Jason Winshell. 

San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey now believes, based on private statements from federal officials, that he is not legally required to honor the so-called “immigration detainers,” said the sheriff’s spokeswoman Eileen Hirst. She said the department is now reviewing its options, and seeking “guidance” from the Sanctuary Ordinance.

Nine months after the federal data-sharing system synched up FBI and Homeland Security records, federal authorities have deported more than 100 people from the San Francisco city jail who had no criminal record.
Now many of those deportations could come to an end. While David Venturella, executive director of Secure Communities, repeatedly indicated to Hennessey in a meeting on Nov. 9 that opting out of immigration checks on fingerprints was not possible, localities were not required to hold arrested suspects for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Venturella stated no less than three times that an ICE detainer is ‘merely a request,’ and further stated that there is no federal law or mandate or court case that requires local jurisdictions to honor ICE detainers,” Hirst said.

City set own rules

The sanctuary city ordinance was designed to protect the rights of immigrants who might turn out to have been innocent of the crimes for which they were arrested but who were suspected of violating immigration law. Police reported only those people to immigration who were booked on felony charges or had felony histories, had identified themselves as foreign-born, or who had been determined to be foreign-born.

Many local leaders still say it is not their job to enforce federal rules. Immigrant advocates agree. Angela Chan, a staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, told KALW News in October that there was a constitutional issue at stake: The 10th Amendment prevents the federal government from requiring state and local authorities to do their work for them.
Another problem with Secure Communities is that it puts disadvantaged immigrants in immigration jeopardy, Hirst said. Under the new law, a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking can be deported if he or she is arrested along with the perpetrators, she said. The simple running of a criminal background check automatically notifies Homeland Security.
Until recently, local officials thought there was no legal way to refuse federal requests to keep suspects in jail until they get deported. Hennessey changed his mind late last year, when Venturella was quoted saying detainers were optional.
Hennessey, himself a lawyer, “is very careful that policy changes pass legal muster,” Hirst said. “Now that he knows that he is not legally required to honor an ICE detainer, that is what got the conversation going.”

Deported after petty crimes

Last summer, critics of the Secure Communities rollout in San Francisco predicted it would lead to increased federal seizures and deportations of immigrant suspects.
That appears to have happened. From June 8 last year to Feb. 28, a total of 241 people arrested in San Francisco and flagged by the federal database were turned over to immigration officials, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data released after a freedom-of-information request by civil rights groups.
Of those, 111, nearly half, were people in a category previously shielded by the city’s sanctuary policy — those with no criminal record. Adding people arrested for minor offenses, that number climbs to 187, or 78 percent of all the deportations that occured out of the San Francisco jail.
Hirst said that Hennessey was working with Sheriff’s Department attorneys, other city departments and advocates for immigrants on a policy that would block some immigration detainer requests that came from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But that would only be for certain classes of people held at the county jail.
Secure Communities first rolled out in California, county by county, in 2009, reaching San Francisco last June. It is essentially an information-sharing program between the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security — part of the legacy of border reforms enacted after the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The program links biometric fingerprint checks made through the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System with the Homeland Security’s Automated Biometric Identification System. When police make criminal background checks with finger scans, an immigration detainer is issued by Homeland Security within hours.

Seeking exemptions

There is no circumventing, or “opting out” of the immigration check. Since Secure Communities went online in San Francisco, according to Hirst, “Every single person who walks into the jail is fingerprinted and every single person is reported to ICE.”
Last March, state Rep. Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, introduced Assembly Bill 1081 — called the TRUST Act — which would give local jurisdictions a way of opting out of Secure Communities. The bill was covered extensively in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
But, Venturella from Secure Communities said in the November meeting “no less than three times that an ICE detainer is merely a request,” Hirst said. Venturella told the Sheriff’s Department “that there is no federal law or mandate or court case that requires local jurisdictions to honor ICE detainers,” she added.
Venturella gave the same information to Miguel Márquez, the Santa Clara county counsel, both verbally and in writing. In response to an Aug. 16 letter from Márquez, Venturella wrote: “ICE views an immigration detainer as a request that a law enforcement agency maintain custody of an alien who may otherwise be released for up to 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays). This provides ICE time to assume custody of the alien.”

San Francisco could be one of the first counties to act on this information. “We are now taking a look at our policy that requires us to honor all ICE detainers,” Hirst said. “We are looking to the Sanctuary Ordinance for guidance.”  


Those so-called "non-criminals" broke the law, and are net consumers of various city and state social services. When will the oh-so-intellectual "leaders" of SF ever figure out the correllation between illegal immigration and the current fiscal crisis?

Used to be, we freedom-loving Americans would go to a foreign country, and we would be shocked when the hotel desk clerk retained our passports for review by the municipal police. Such a violation of rights and privacy and humanity, we would think, to be required to prove, repeatedly, one's right to occupy space peaceably. Americans would never stand for such oppressive behavior at home......and now, it's people who claim noisily to stand for American values and liberties who are cheering for a papers-in-order, mass-arrests state, right here at home.Does freedom interest you at all as an ideal?What country exactly do you want this to be?How would you feel about your current advocacy for a police state if there were still, for example, a Soviet bad example in play?

Ahh, liberals protecting their voting base.

We, the patriots of this country are being DILLUTED purposely, to provide for a more easily controlled populace.   Its a divide and rule technique, creating tensions between diffrent groups, deflacting long deserved anger against the powers.

Our last 5 Presidents absolutely refused to enforce our immigration laws. They receive huge campaign donations from big business, Latino groups and others. We have had illegal colonization for many years and are still taking in the worlds unwantred and uneducated population. We are accepting 250,000 legal immigrants a MONTH.Far to many of our elected officals have sold their soul and their country for money, power and votes.  My advice, lean Spanish, then Arabic, maybe Chinese would be helpful. Now get back to work ! We have welfare payments that must be funded.


How about all the Liberals/Communists/Socialists in San Francisco; give up their jobs direclty to ILLEGAL Immigrants, take their children out of private/public schools and allow ILLEGAL Immigrants to take their place, give up their Social Security numbers/identity to ILLEGAL Immigrants, give the ILLEGAL Immigrants their own health insurance policies, allow ILLEGAL Immigrants to take away everyone of their children who are in College and/or about to to to College and replace them with ILLEGAL Immigrant children NO QUESTIONS ASKED, and finally allow them to LEGALLY ADOPT/SPONSOR ILLEGAL Immigrants so that they are legally/personally responsible for these ILLEGAL Immigrants.During the interim how about we allow 15-30 Million Europeans to come to the United States ILLEGALLY and then take over our jobs/schools/health system and then REFUSE to leave. Then when questioned they call those questoning them RACISTs or whatever other "talking points" they decide on. How many of these San Francisco bleeding hearts would allow that?We have the most lenient LEGAL Immigration, Student Visa, work permit polices in the WORLD and yet we don't protect/enforce our borders SOLELY due to shreiks made 24/7 by these minions.ENOUGH of the excuses and enough of the enabling. Our Country has a REAL unemployment rate of about 17% and it is long past the time when American Citizens' rights should TRUMPH, in every case, the actions of these ILLEGAL Immigrants.LEGAL Immigrants should be applauded for respecting/adhering to our Laws and if there are necessary changes, based upon facts, then lets discuss them and put it to a Vote.Nuff said. 

Border Patrol officials have repeatedly told him they have been ordered to reduce -- at times even stop -- arrests of illegal immigrants caught trying to cross the U.S. border. Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever told that a supervisor with the U.S. Border Patrol told him as recently as this month that the federal agency’s office on Arizona's southern border was under orders to keep apprehension numbers down during specific reporting time periods. “The senior supervisor agent is telling me about how their mission is now to scare people back,” Dever said in an interview with “He said, ‘I had to go back to my guys and tell them not to catch anybody, that their job is to chase people away. … They were not to catch anyone, arrest anyone. Their job was to set up posture, to intimidate people, to get them to go back.” Dever said his recent conversation with the Border Patrol supervisor was the latest in a series of communications on the subject that he has had with various federal agents over the last two years. Dever said he plans to relay the substance of these conversations when he testifies under oath next month before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. 

Obama on Illegal Aliens to Illegal Alien: We Don’t Want to Deport Them; 'We Want Them To Succeed’ Monday, March 28, 2011  When questioned by an illegal alien student today who showed him a deportation letter, President Barack Obama said he did not want to deport illegal alien students like the one who questioned him, he wanted them to succeed.  The exchange came during a town hall event sponsored by the Spanish-language television network Univision at a Washington, D.C., school.

Alien - Any person not a citizen or national of the United States.Permanent Resident Alien - An alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants; however, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)). An illegal alien who entered the United States without inspection, for example, would be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident alien. Lawful permanent residents are legally accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States. They may be issued immigrant visas by the Department of State overseas or adjusted to permanent resident status by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States.Why do we continue to shield and reward those who enter the United States without inspection?  Why do politicians continue to create a Welfare Nation as the "Sheep" follow suit when they are clearly breaking the law by Aiding and Abetting ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS?When is enough really enough?

That in this country you can steal a pack of gum and end up in jail yet you can break into a country for whom men and women have died for and you have governments out there protecting you.To those that support this type of thing if someone breaks into your home or car I have to assume you do nothing. In fact if someone breaks into your home while your at home make sure you offer them some extra cash and perhaps some legal assistance in the event they are later caught for doing something else.The liberal mind is a mind filled with years and years of failed experiments and they just can't accept the failure. Their response to the failure is they haven't failed enough.

The Feds should deny ALL funds to sanctuary cities.  If they do not receive cash from the gov't, lets see how they would feel about protecting the illegals then.  Any Police Chief that refuses to enforce our laws should be fired, as they are not doing their jobs and aiding and abetting criminals!  Any politician who support the criminal illegals needs to be voted out of office as well.  DEPORT ALL ILLEGALS !!


Why did I stand in line for my Immigration papers ?  Pay the fines, produce medical clearance records, criminal records, sponsorhip, have monies available to support myself, show a reason to immigrate and not become a burden on society...what happened to just some of those requirements for myself and many others like me who waited years in line on a pending application.  I signed up for National service (Military), pay taxes, never took welfare, created a small business.  These Illegals are scum and bums.  They deserve nothing at all. 

They are here illegally, they have already broken the law.  They use some one else’s identity to work, they have broken the law again. DEPORT these illegal immigrants and their children NOW. We need to boycott San Francisco. What you see when you go there (bums and beggars everywhere, the streets smell like urine and crap). Yes I lived in California for 15 years and work in San Francisco for a few years as well. Once Sand Francisco loses the tourist money, they may pull their head out and realize they made a mistake. The one thing LIBS love more than helping illegal immigrants is money. KJ

Since when is a crime to deport illegal aliens who have come into this country by breaking a federal law?  There is a federal law in place that specifically targets these illegal people, yet Congress does not do anything about it.  There is also a process by which people are allowed legally into this country which these illegal aliens have so nicely circumvented.  So what is this , people clamoring that they are getting deported for doing something wrong from the very beginning and very willfully?

 California has taken in ten million people. Only two hundred thousand of these ten milllion pay California state income tax.  No wonder we are broke.

 Why are Hispanics given such a free ride when there is almost no tolerance against Asians and other non-Hispanics?  Try to come here from China, or anywhere in Asia.  They are not wanted here, but 15,000,000 Mexicans were allowed without even paying.  

You libs always screech about it not being the locals job to check and enforce immigration. So the Feds put a system in place to DO THE JOB, and now you screech about THAT. Keep it up, by 2012 there will be so many sick and tired of this junk there will be a reckoning!

100% of illegal aliens are criminals...simple as that. Deport them all!

"feds deport more than 100 non-criminals" 1)Your "violators of immigrations law" committed a crime by coming here illegially. The word "criminal" means one who commits a crime therefore illegal aliens are criminals. Quit trying to re-write history. 2) You have a problem with deporting your so-called "non-criminals" so therefore you promote deporting the "real criminals"?

While the article states that over 100 "non-criminals" were deported, it fails to state exactly why these "non-criminals" happened to be in jail in the first place.  The language is misleading, because what is apparently meant is that these people had no known prior criminal history, which is something quite different than being a "non-criminal."  While the article does talk about San Francisco trying to create classes of essentially acceptable violations which would trigger the sanctuary city ordinance, the article also doesn't address whether this is an appropriate form of discrimination.  For example, a man who beat his wife in a domestic violence dispute with no prior criminal history would be a "non-criminal."  Would San Francisco allow this abuser back onto the street to abuse his spouse?  What about a drunk driver?  Would this person be free to get drunk again and kill someone?  Exactly what kind of violation would it take for San Francisco to do its duty to protect its citizens?  Will the City and County of San Francisco be willing to absorb the liability for putting an arrested alien who shouldn't be in the U.S. in the first place, who then commits a crime after being shielded from detection by federal authorities?  Where's the social justice for people victimized by those who didn't enter the country legally?

 oh no more socialist crapola  from the  idiots  running SF be  afraid 

As a SF taxpayer, I am glad to see Illegal Aliens that are arrested get deported. This is what happens in ANY civilized country.The bulk of SF taxpayer money, after debt service, City payroll and benefits, and retiree benefits goes to "Health and Human Services." The majority of recipients are not contributing to the local economy nor are they US Citizens.San Francisco is on the verge of bankruptcy and its infrastructure is in extremely shoddy condition. The City plans to float bonds to fill potholes at the next election while it hands out over half a Billion dollars a year to a litany of non-profits, mostly serving non-citizens and bums. Taxpayers are afforded no opportunity for input on this distribution.Further, the warped liberals here have created discrimination against lawfully licensed and registered drivers by allowing non-English-speaking traffic violators extra time to locate a licensed driver to move their vehicle rather than it being impounded when Police are issuing tickets. Enough is enough.

 Why not?  Let more families die like the Bologna family.  Liberals couldn't care less as long as their policies are in place.  Pathetic.

Sheesh, what part of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT is so hard for you to understand?  I'm a legal immigrant and yes it's a lot of work to immigrate legally - you have to have patience, you have to have made arrangements to support yourself financially, and once here you have to be law abiding.  You have to demonstrate a commitment to being a useful resident, not a parasite.This is the case all over the world, WHY do some Californians have such difficulty figuring it out?  YES this nation was settled by immigrants - so was Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, pretty much all of Latin America, in fact, and much of Africa.  Can you just walk into Mexico and live and work there, or Panama or Ethiopia or China or Peru or...?

 I'm sorry, but if you are here illegally, and then you commit a crime--even if it's not a so-called "serious" crime, you should get the boot.  If you're here to work, then you'd better be doing that, and keep your nose clean.

If they are here undocumented, they are a criminal.  Deport them.  No more sanctuary city!!

How do they know thet are "non-criminals"(puke? Did someone check their Mexican criminal history when they snuck in to America?

 I thought immigration was a Federal issue? Liberals are such hypocrates. Obama should sue San Francisco.

I've got a brilliant about Hennessy & Co. enforce immigration law as it exists on the books and let the Feds decide which illegal immigrants should be deported? An even better option would be the Feds effectively enforcing our immigration laws and figuring out the whole immigration issue instead of regularly kicking it down the road?

Arizona's Illegal Alien Population Declined After Passing Mandatory E-Verify LawA new report from the Public Policy Institute of California indicates that Arizona's illegal aliens population declined after the state passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act in 2007 that required all businesses to use E-Verify. According to PPIC's research, Arizona's illegal alien population fell 17% or by 92,000 from 2008 to 2009. Arizona is one of three states that requires all its employers to use E-Verify. Mississippi and South Carolina also require all companies to check new hires with the workplace verification tool.

CRIMINAL IMMIGRANTS IN PRISON, JAILS INCREASEDPosted: 4/22/2011 10:37:06 AM Updated: 4/22/2011 10:38:58 AMWASHINGTON (AP) Government auditors say about 55,000 immigrants were in federal prison last year.  The Government Accountability Office says that's about a 7 percent increase from 51,000 in 2005.  Federal officials reimbursed local and state governments for jailing about 296,000 immigrants on civil violations and for crimes in 2009, compared to 220,000 in 2003. The GAO estimates the federal government has spent about $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion from 2005 to 2009 to incarcerate immigrants in federal and local facilities.  The GAO says the number of immigrants arrested and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement had risen 70 percent since 2009. Immigration, drugs and traffic violations account for half of the arrest offenses.> From New Mexico's Associated Press