Campos Calls on Mayor Lee to Uphold Sanctuary City Law

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on May 11, 2011 with No Comments

Supervisor David Campos during yesterday's Board of Supervisor meeting. Photos by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

May 11, 2011

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos called on Mayor Ed Lee yesterday to uphold a city law that provides undocumented youth the constitutional guarantee of due process.

“I respectfully ask the mayor to reconsider his position and to provide every child in San Francisco the due process that is afforded to them by the United State Constitution,” Campos said in response to comments made by Mayor Lee following a question posed by Supervisor Jane Kim during Mayor’s Question Time at yesterday’s weekly Board of Supervisors meeting.

A 2009 amendment, sponsored by Campos, to the city’s 1989 voter-approved Sanctuary City ordinance, explicitly mandates undocumented youth first be convicted of their alleged crime in a court of law before being referred to Federal immigration authorities for deportation proceedings.

Then Mayor Gavin Newsom refused to comply with the veto-proof amendment resulting in undocumented youths accused of crimes being deported without due process.

“What we’re talking about is a very basic principle that is at the heart of our judicial system which is the principle that in this country, you are innocent until proven guilty,” Campos said, adding that if undocumented youth are reported to federal immigration authorities without having their day in court, “there’s the very real possibility that the children you will be reporting to immigration are children that, in fact, are not guilty of that which they have been accused.”

Mayor Lee said he supports the Sanctuary City ordinance, but said a balance needed to be struck between public safety and due process rights. Following discussions with juvenile justice system officials, Mayor Lee said undocumented youth accused of a crime who are enrolled in school, have family members living in the Bay Area, and are not repeat or violent offenders, will be afforded due process considerations.

“Those are some of the conditions upon which we have moved forward on it, but it is an adjustment to the current policy,” Lee said.

Campos said he appreciated Mayor Lee’s policy adjustment but said full compliance of the law includes the guarantee of due process for all undocumented youths, regardless of school or family status.

“As much as we appreciate that step being taken,” Campos said, “we still do not have full compliance with a law that was duly enacted by this Board of Supervisors. Full compliance with the law that we enacted means giving every child in San Francisco who interacts with the criminal justice system, due process and so I will respectfully submit that while I welcome this change, it is simply not sufficient.”

“To the extent that there is a policy difference about what the best policy is, it is not up to the executive to second-guess the legislative branch,” Campos added. “If there’s any second guessing to be done under California law, that second-guessing can only be done by the courts, which means that a law should be complied with unless there is a finding by a court that the law is illegal.”

To date, the Sanctuary City ordinance remains legally unchallenged.

Asked if his implementation of the Sanctuary City ordinance differs from that of former Mayor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Lee said, “To be quite candid with you, I don’t compare myself to former Mayor Gavin Newsom. I’m my own boss. I get to do what I think is right and in the first few months obviously I had to study everything he did to get my foundation going, but now I’m feeling very comfortable with my foundation and I feel comfortable that the people in this city want to move forward on this and want to still be representative of the values that we’ve always been [sic].”

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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