SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – In the controversial battle over San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy, one mayoral candidate is arguing the system gives felons a free ride.

Currently, the city’s policy makes it next to impossible to turn an illegal immigrant accused of violent felonies over to ICE.

Next week, voters who disagree with that policy will be able to make their voice heard by backing one mayoral candidate.

“It’s where the far left goes so far left, they’re right,” said San Francisco attorney and mayoral candidate Angela Alioto.

It’s an unusual statement for a dark blue city like San Francisco. But when it comes to sanctuary policy, it’s a battleground.

“I don’t believe this is the time — nor the right solution — to a problem we really don’t have,” San Francisco DA George Gascon said.

Alioto disagrees.

“It’s so out there. Who in the world would sit there and think, ‘Let’s protect murderers and rapists,'” said the mayoral hopeful.

Alioto is trying to change that policy.

With enough signatures, she can get a measure on the ballot that would repeal a 2016 amendment to the law that makes it almost impossible for San Francisco to turn an illegal immigrant over to immigration agents.

Currently, San Francisco will turn an immigrant over to the feds only if all three requirements are met: if the immigrant was arrested for a violent felony, a judge finds probable cause to prosecute it and that same immigrant has been convicted either of three felonies or one violent felony in the last seven years.

Only if all those requirements are met, will the city honor an ICE hold, and then the hold only lasts for 48 hours.

Gascon says the current policy is to encourage undocumented victims to come forward without the fear of deportation and says changing the policy will have a chilling effect:

“This does not protect felons. Furthermore, we want people to come forward to report violence so we can prosecute them,” said Gascon. “We don’t want violent criminals running around without any consequences because the victims are afraid to report the crime.”

A recent KPIX Survey USA Poll of Bay Area voters found a majority want local law enforcement to work with ICE in cases involving illegal immigrants who are suspects in violent crime.

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