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Sanctuary city keeping immigrant-friendly policies

South Carolina residents may have heard about the 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed in San Francisco by an undocumented Mexican immigrant who was facing deportation. The July 1 incident made national headlines and ignited a debate over San Francisco's status as an immigrant sanctuary city. Critics of San Francisco's sanctuary policies argue that the shooter should have been detained per federal requests.

On Oct. 20, the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco reaffirmed the city's immigrant sanctuary policies despite the criticism that arose as a result of the July 1 shooting. In a unanimous vote, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution that urges the sheriff not to take part in a detainer-notification system that alerts U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement about undocumented immigrants that have been released from custody.

On the same day that San Francisco voted on the detainer-notification system, Senate Republicans in Congress failed to pass legislation that would impose penalties on sanctuary cities. City officials declared that San Francisco was a sanctuary city in 1989 after it prohibited authorities from enforcing immigration laws in the city or inquiring about immigration status. San Francisco regularly ignores ICE requests to detain foreign nationals.

Foreign-born individuals who are facing possible deportation from the United States are often unaware that they have the option to dispute the deportation order. An immigration attorney may be able to help a person who is being targeted for deportation to argue that the order is faulty and that the client is not actually removable. In some cases, undocumented immigrants may qualify for relief from removal by applying for asylum or adjusting their immigration status by applying for immigrant visas.

Source: ABC News, "San Francisco Board Reaffirms Status as Immigrant Sanctuary," Janie Har, Associated Press, Oct. 20, 2015

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