The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation yesterday requiring that undocumented youth can only be turned over to federal immigration officials after they are convicted of a felony. Mayor Newsom is widely expected to veto this change in policy and even though the Board of Supervisors has enough votes to overturn his veto, the Mayor plans to ignore it.
Mayor Gavin Newsom is willing to break unjust federal laws for gay couples, but he cannot seem to follow the law when it comes to immigrant juveniles. Everyone has the right to due process regardless of citizenship and legal status. His policy of turning over arrested and allegedly ‘illegal’ juveniles to federal immigration officials ensnared youth on small graffiti charges and even legal permanent residents who were temporarily separated from their families without due process of law.
While we won’t see Arpaio-style racist sweeps yet, San Francisco will continue to struggle with immigration law enforcement in an era where ‘illegal immigrants’ are the scapegoats for all our problems.
A CIR Symposium is planned for November 9, where city officials and experts will try to find a place for San Francisco in shaping national immigration policy. I have been invited to testify at the hearing. If San Francisco can lead the way in innovative technology and controversial social issues such as gay marriage, surely we can stand our ground against an immigration enforcement program that does little to solve the problems plaguing our broken immigration system.