DALY CITY (KPIX 5) — Some local leaders are saying Monday night that police in Daly City may have violated state law when they turned an undocumented immigrant over to ICE officials.
Months after a man was pulled over for a traffic stop in Daly City and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, city council members in Daly City unanimously approved a resolution affirming its support of immigrant communities.
The man, 21-year-old Jose Armando Escobar Lopez, is an undocumented immigrant who advocates say fled domestic violence and gang threats in El Salvador when he was 15 years old. Lopez is now in ICE custody in Bakersfield and could face deportation.
Sarah Lee, an immigrant rights advocate with the Advancing Justice Asian Law Caucus, said the police department’s cooperation with ICE is prohibited under SB-54, California’s sanctuary state law. That law also prohibits authorities from holding a person in order to transfer them to ICE.
Video supplied by the Asian Law Caucus shows Lopez being handcuffed by an ICE agent while a Daly City police officer stands by.
“What we know is that Daly City’s internal immigration policy is very flawed and that it actually violates SB54 on multiple levels,” said Lee.
Daly City police chief Patrick Hensley told KPIX 5 he is aware of problems with his department’s immigration policy.
“We know that policy needs work and that’s what we’re working toward,” he said.
As council members prepared to pass the resolution, Jessica Yamane, an attorney for Lopez, demanded that the council take additional action.
“I respectfully request that Daly City advocate ICE for Armando’s release on parole,” said Yamane.
Lee said she wanted to see the council take their support of Lopez beyond a largely symbolic resolution.
“We want the city of Daly City to actually pass not a resolution, but a policy for the Daly City Police Department to stop collaborating with ICE completely,” Lee said.
Daly City mayor Raymond Buenaventura said the council is working collaboratively with the rest of the city on updating the policy, but the process will take time.
“We have to get this right and we have to study it, look at it carefully and do our jobs and we will. And we’re not going to forget Armando,” said Buenaventura.