The debate over so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ has been shoved into the national spotlight after a 32-year-old woman was shot and killed last week as she walked along San Francisco’s Pier 14 with her father.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the man who has confessed to the killing, is an undocumented immigrant with seven previous felony convictions who had been deported to his native Mexico numerous times since entering the U.S.
The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department cut Sanchez loose after dropping drug charges on which they had asked feds to turn him over. Though federal authorities asked SFSD to tell them when they released Sanchez, the Sheriff’s Department ignored the request in keeping with their 26-year-old sanctuary law, stemming from a 1989 policy that prevents local officials from helping the feds with immigration enforcement unless required by law.
Supporters of sanctuary laws say that communities are safer when immigrants are encouraged to work with police to help identify dangerous criminals without fear of deportation. Opponents say sanctuary laws create safe havens for undocumented citizens who might
What are the arguments for and against sanctuary cities? Given Mr. Sanchez’s history of crime and being deported, should the SFSD have contacted federal authorities when they released him? Does the sanctuary city policy do more harm than good or does it make cities safer?
Lee Romney, San Francisco-based reporter for the Los Angeles Times; "LA Times: Fatal shooting of S.F. woman reveals disconnect between ICE, local police; 5-time deportee charged"
Joseph Villela, director of policy and advocacy at Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).
Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies, Center for Immigration Studies