San Francisco no longer will report to immigration authorities juveniles suspected of being in the U.S. illegally when they are arrested on a felony charge if they can show they have family ties to the Bay Area, are enrolled in school, and are not repeat offenders, Mayor Ed Lee said yesterday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The edict creates a middle ground between the hard-line position of Lee’s predecessor, Gavin Newsom, who directed city law enforcement officers to report all arrested juveniles to federal authorities for possible deportation, and the Board of Supervisors, which backed a more liberal policy.
Supervisors passed a law in 2009 intended to prevent the city from automatically cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unless the juvenile had been convicted of a felony – not just arrested. Newsom vetoed the law and the board overrode the veto, but he refused to enforce it. Lee said his policy reflects the spirit and values of San Francisco’s 22-year-old city sanctuary policy, which aims to create a safe refuge for immigrants, whether documented or not. Lee’s policy, which will be carried out by the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department, was met with a combination of appreciation and disappointment by immigrant rights advocates and supervisors who back the more liberal policy adopted by the board but blocked by Newsom.