Immigration detainer limits watered down

Pub date September 24, 2013

Sup. John Avalos’ Due Process for All ordinance, legislation barring San Francisco law enforcement agencies from honoring detainer requests issued by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the federal Secure Communities (S-Comm) program, faced obstacles at the Sept. 17 Board of Supervisors meeting.

But an amended version returned to the board on Sept. 24, where it was expected to be approved (after Guardian press time for this issue, so check out the Politics blog to see what happened).

The legislation initially had enough support for a veto-proof supermajority, but opposition has surfaced to prevent the legislation from winning approval as written, most notably from Police Chief Greg Suhr and Mayor Ed Lee, who threatened to veto the legislation.

At issue was whether to amend the legislation by including “carve-outs” — exceptions requiring law enforcement to honor ICE requests in cases where offenders are suspected of serious violent crimes, child molestation or human trafficking. Sup. Jane Kim offered amendments giving the Sheriff’s Department discretion in such cases, which she characterized as “thoughtful and limited,” but which were opposed by Avalos and Sup. David Campos.

In San Francisco, ICE detainer requests issued under S-Comm have resulted in at least 784 deportations since 2010. Avalos’ legislation seeks to extend due process to all San Franciscans by making it illegal for local law enforcement to comply with such requests.

–Reed Nelson