At a time when some lawmakers in D.C. have more-than-ever before endeavored to make “San Francisco values” a pejorative term, it is imperative that our City leaders stand strong for the values the vast majority of its residents espouse.
That is why it counters public opinion when a candidate running for mayor tries to turn back the clock by proposing a reactionary fall ballot initiative that would redefine San Francisco’s long-held sanctuary city policy. The ballot measure would make a sharp pivot from current City policy by allowing law enforcement to report undocumented immigrants to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if the person has been booked into County Jail on suspicion of a felony, or booked on a lesser crime than a felony but had a previous felony conviction. The proposal would also permit city agencies, including police officers, to report undocumented immigrants who were previously convicted of a felony.
It is shocking to hear a San Francisco mayoral candidate promote a policy that fuels hateful rhetoric and actions aimed at immigrants, claiming that our current sanctuary city policy allows “murderers, rapists, child molesters and other felons safe harbor in our city.” This is not representative of San Francisco.
In the Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition provided to the City, it states, “Today San Franciscans are fiercely divided over our current Sanctuary City Ordinance.” That statement runs counter to the fact that more than 90 percent of San Franciscans in 2016 cast a ballot for someone other than an anti-immigrant presidential candidate. That was an overwhelming rejection of politically motivated vitriol and assault on our immigrant communities.
According to Migration Policy Institute data, there are an estimated 44,000 undocumented people living in San Francisco’s 49 square miles — an average of almost 1,000 per square mile. Of these 44,000, the data indicates that 21,000 have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade. These San Franciscans contribute to our society each day, having sought a better life by escaping abject poverty, political uncertainty and/or violence in their homelands.
These are our neighbors, and they deserve due process.
For the sake of all San Franciscans, MEDA hopes this measure does not appear on the November ballot.