Monday, October 5, 2009

Today: "Sanctuary City" Discussion by S.F. Supes

Today, the Board of Supervisors is expected to discuss David Campos' proposal to refrain from contacting the feds in cases of juvenile offenders who are also undocumented immigrants, unless these offenders have committed felony. And it seems most Supervisors are on board.

The proposal is not new; a similar version of "sanctuary policy" existed under the radar in San Francisco until it was exposed by the Chron in September 2008. At the time, following the exposé, the Mayor reversed the policy, and services reported such offenders to the feds for deportation.

The new policy would not, exactly, be a legal violation. As Rick Hills explains in this illuminating blog post, Congress cannot require states to enforce federal immigration law, especially when it violates state law. Circuit court decisions to the contrary are quite problematic in their legal reasoning (supposedly, the rationale is, as Rick puts it, that the feds are not "commanding" anyone to do anything: federal law simply stopped non-federal officials from interfering with other people's decision voluntarily to cooperate with the feds).

This also brings up, yet again, the preoccupation with undocumented immigrants throughout the policy discussions of the crisis. The Supervisors' decision would be at odds with every correctional saving plan we've seen in the last few months, all of which rely on massive deportation protocols, sometimes haphazardly conducted. The fate of CDCR layoffs has been attributed by CCPOA officials to the inability to deport 19,000 inmates. Some institutions have built-in hearing programs prior to deportation. As explained by Matthew Cate in this CDCR video from March, discharging prospective deportees is a money-saving strategy (10 million dollars annually).

The San Francisco policy would provide a contrast to this trend.

No comments: