SF Immigrant Groups Rejoice as “Due Process for All” Ordinance Goes Into Effect on Nov. 8, 2013

From the SF Immigrant Rights Defense Committee 

Community pledges to vigorously monitor implementation

San Francisco – Today, November 08, 2013, the landmark “Due Process for All” ordinance officially goes into effect in San Francisco, one month after it was signed. The signature on the measure, authored by Supervisor John Avalos, came after two unanimous votes at the Board of Supervisors and a powerful campaign led by undocumented community members, including survivors of domestic violence.

Immigrant rights organizations and community members are celebrating the policy’s implementation today and are looking forward to the swift and full implementation of the policy by the city’s local law enforcement leaders.

"With due process now a reality, many more of our families will be united instead of torn apart by deportation,” said Cinthya Muñoz, lead organizer with Causa Justa::Just Cause. “This victory is proof that everyday people can make history when we organize. We will work to make sure of the full implementation of this historic policy and we will continue to challenge unjust deportations locally, statewide, and across the nation."

Beverly Upton, Executive Director of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium, commented: "We are so grateful for this groundbreaking legislation.  It is a huge step toward safety and justice."

The ordinance will strengthen community confidence in law enforcement, protect immigrant crime victims and witnesses, and guard against separation of local families by severely limiting cruel and costly immigration "holds" in San Francisco. These are potentially unconstitutional detentions of immigrants in the local jail for extra time, at local expense, at the request of federal immigration authorities. 

The ordinance’s effective date comes days after Santa Clara County preserved an even stronger policy, a decision which San Francisco advocates are hailing

“Each and every ICE hold risks violating the constitution and undermining our cherished principle of equality under the law. We commend Santa Clara County for upholding the strongest standard in California,” said Angela Chan, Senior Staff Attorney at Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus.

While the counties surrounding San Francisco and Santa Clara currently lack any protections from abusive immigration holds, that will change come January 1, when the TRUST Act goes into effect across California. That bill creates a compromise, minimum standard limiting holds across the state.

Under the San Francisco policy, which also represents a compromise, holds are only allowed where an adult has both a recent, prior conviction for certain felonies, and also faces a current charge under one of those statutes if a judge has found probable cause for such charge.  Even in those circumstances, the Sheriff may consider positive equities such as rehabilitation and community contribution. These exceptions are to "sunset" within three years or upon the approval of national comprehensive immigration reform, whichever is sooner. Additionally, the exceptions do not apply to youth under the age of 18.

Watch Univision's Coverage of this story here.  

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