July 11, 2017

House of Representatives passes anti-sanctuary city law

New legislation would make it a crime for SF not to cooperate with federal immigration detainer requests

On Thursday the US House of Representatives passed the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” on a vote of 228-195, taking aim at San Francisco’s immigration policies.

The summary of the bill reads in part:

H.R. 3003 strengthens current law to combat dangerous sanctuary policies that shield unlawful and criminal immigrants from federal immigration enforcement.

Specifically, the bill clarifies U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer authority – the tool used by federal immigration enforcement officers to pick up criminal aliens from local jails – by established statutory probable cause standards to issue detainers for the first time.

In addition, the bill withholds certain federal grants from jurisdictions that violate federal law by prohibiting their officers from cooperating with ICE.

Although the bill does not name San Francisco specifically, if it became law (and withstood any legal challenges) the city’s policy of not detaining people purely on the basis of ICE requests would encounter turbulence.

Both of San Francisco’s congressional rep’s (district 12’s Nancy Pelosi and district 14’s Jackie Speier) voted “nay” in the mostly party line vote.

Earlier this year the White House attempted to issue an executive order to similar effect, but a judge ruled in favor of San Francisco and Santa Clara County in court in April, faulting the order for “violating the separation of powers doctrine and depriving [the cities] of their Tenth and Fifth Amendment rights.”

As it stands now, no law requires that cities honor detainer requests, which ask that suspects be held in jails for a few extra days while federal agents decide whether to arrest them on immigration charges.


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