Sanctuary City, Not So Much

Obviously this isn’t going to turn into an immigration blog because of one post, but I invited people to share their stories of real immigration struggles.  This is one of those stories:

you invited immigration stories on your blog so i figured i would share one. i’m a social worker working with immigrant youth, most of whom are undocumented.

in mid-september, an 18 year old client of mine, let’s call him carlos, went missing for two days. he was waiting for his uncle at a bus stop on 9th and market where a witness told his uncle that the police took him away. his family called the police to locate him, but could not find him. finally, carlos called his family and told them he was in an ICE detention center in arizona. apparently, an undercover police officer tackled him from behind and started asking him questions in english. he didn’t understand and this seemed to upset the police officer more. carlos said the officer hit him, put him in a police car, and took him to 850 bryant. he didn’t get a phone call until he was in arizona.

sanctuary city, not so much.

carlos and his family came to this country from honduras because their lives were being threatened. while i know it shouldn’t matter, this young man fit absolutely no “street” profile. if it had been almost any other client of mine, i might have wondered what he said to the cop or what he was wearing, but not carlos. this kid is all button down shirts and waist high jeans that are appropriately sized. he was enrolled in high school, he was an A and B student, and his attendance was great. i’ve gotten letters of support from all his teachers, sent him his transcripts, and attendance records, but the judge didn’t care about any of it.

his bond was set at $20,000, which is preposterous. the family can manage the 10% for a bondsman, but not the collateral. the alternative is to find a reduced rate or probono lawyer (impossible) to help him fight his case in detention. he would likely argue political asylum, and could spend years in detention fighting that case just to get deported anyway. all we want is for him to be breathe some free air while the wheels of justice turn, which i figured would be cheaper for the feds but perhaps not. the immigration system is uneblievably absurd and cold; they are treating this young man as if he had committed some heinous crime.

Take My Wife, Please!

Anytime weddings  and self-divorce at 25th and Valencia.  Get one of each!

(Photo from xojy)

Trust Your Police Department

The following comes from this week’s Mission Station Newsletter, by SFPD Captain Stephen Tacchini:

Last week I attended a meeting of the Immigrant Rights Commission. The meeting was well attended and produced several interesting and provocative questions. Some speakers indicated reluctance to request or utilize public safety services due to their immigration status in this country. They expressed a lack of confidence that if they called the Police, they would be subject to being detained for Immigration officials, or identified for later enforcement of immigration laws.

Since this newsletter is translated into Spanish, I feel it is important
to clearly state that the San Francisco Police Department does not take
into consideration a person’s immigration status unless that person is
under arrest for a felony. I am including the policy of the San
Francisco Police Department below for clarification and dissemination in
the attempt to eliminate false perceptions that are in existence.

It is the policy of the San Francisco Police Department to foster trust
and cooperation with all people of this city and to encourage them to
communicate with San Francisco police officers without fear of inquiry
regarding their immigration status. It is also Department policy,
consistent with it obligations under state and federal law, to adhere to
the City of Refuge Ordinance. This ordinance prohibits the use of City
resources to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws
except in certain limited circumstances.

Public safety is something that is essential to all persons and when
accessed will result in a better sharing of information related to the
incidence of crime and assist in crime prevention as well as
identification of criminals. I encourage all persons regardless of
their immigration status to utilize the excellent law enforcement
services available to you in the Mission District and elsewhere in San
Francisco. It is important for the police to have as much information
about criminal activity as well as community needs/problems as possible.
That information is important for us to be successful in implementing
effective programs to abate crime, provide education and resource
information, and to establish a trusting and respectful relationship
with the members of all communities.

Please encourage those persons who have been misinformed, that police
services are available and there should be no fear to access those
services, based upon their immigration status in this country.

I respect criticism delivered for the purpose of improvement, encourage suggestions made for the good of all, and welcome involvement from those who care enough to share the burden of trying to make a difference.

Mr. Seahorse Knows

“Mr. Seahorse knows that no one is illegal,” reads this sidewalk stencil found by Mission Mission reader JimBeam.