San Francisco may be first in the U.S. to stop detaining undocumented immigrants

Independence DayIn San Francisco, a recently proposed ordinance would make it illegal for law enforcement to hold anyone solely based on their immigration status.

This would represent a direct clash with the federal government’s current policy of directing local law enforcement across the U.S. to detain undocumented immigrants solely on their status. Some cities — like New Orleans, Louisiana — have already started to ease up on their enforcement of the federal government’s mandate, but San Francisco would be the first county to officially stop detaining.

The proposal will head to a vote next week, where it should pass fully, enough so to power through a potential veto from the mayor, if it were to come to that.

Said Supervisor John Avalos: “The legislation is about due process against the arbitrary loss of liberty.”

The law would represent a major victory for immigration reform advocates.

The ordinance questions whether the detention of undocumented immigrants is constitutional. It reads, “Unlike criminal detainers, which are supported by a warrant and require probable cause, there is no requirement for a warrant and no established standard of proof, such as reasonable suspicion or probable cause, for issuing an immigration detainer.”

San Francisco handed over 542 people to immigration officials last year. Should this law pass, that number would drop to zero.