SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco Police Commission voted in favor of a revised policy Wednesday strengthening rules that limit the extent to which police can cooperate with immigration authorities.
The revised policy includes sections prohibiting the use of city resources to enforce immigration laws or the cooperation of law enforcement with immigration authorities, except where it is required by state or federal law. Police are to act only on criminal warrants from federal authorities and not on civil immigration detainer requests.
It also prohibits local law enforcement from asking about immigration status and limits the information they can share on individuals’ status.
The changes are being made in part to reflect revisions made in 2016 to San Francisco’s “Sanctuary City” policies following controversy over the 2015 fatal shooting of Kathryn “Kate” Steinle.
The policies are intended to improve public safety by increasing cooperation between law enforcement and immigrant communities.
Steinle was allegedly shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who had been released from a San Francisco jail two and a half months earlier despite a federal immigration detainer request.
Defense attorneys have said Lopez-Sanchez, whose trial is set to start later this month, fired the gun accidentally and was not trying to shoot Steinle.
The sheriff’s office did not notify federal authorities of his release, as required by city policy.
The case drew national attention and condemnation from Republicans and right-wing media, but the city’s elected officials have remained steadfast in their determination to keep local law enforcement out of immigration enforcement.
San Francisco police, however, have not always been consistent in their application of the policies.
The city’s Board of Supervisors last week approved a $190,000 settlement of a lawsuit filed by Pedro Zarceno Figueroa, a San Francisco resident who was arrested and turned over to immigration authorities in 2015 after he reported his car stolen.
More recently, a San Francisco police officer was reportedly caught on video earlier this year threatening people with deportation during an undercover news investigation.
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