Sanctuary cities may also be settlement cities for illegals. To settle a lawsuit, San Franciso is set to pay $190,000 to an illegal immigrant who says his “undocumented” status was reported to ICE officers — contrary to the protection that sanctuary cities offer to illegals.
CBS affiliate KPIX 5 reports that the settlement is pending but is expected to be officially announced in the near future.
The city is just fine with that. According to John Coté, a spokesman for the Office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, “San Francisco has strong policies in place to encourage victims and witnesses to report crimes without fear of being deported, which include our sanctuary ordinance. These policies are designed to foster respect and trust between law enforcement and residents to ensure our communities are safe. The City, including the Police Department, remain committed to them.”
Coté insisted that “this proposed settlement is a fair resolution for all of the parties involved.”
The episode began when Pedro Figueroa-Zarceno went to a San Francisco police station on Dec. 2, 2015 to pick up his car that had been stolen and then recovered. Upon exiting the building, he was immediately arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
According to Figueroa-Zarceno’s attorneys, a San Francisco cop was in direct communication with ICE agents to inform them of the illegal immigrant’s status and whereabouts. The alleged contact between local and federal authorities precipitated two months of detention for Figueroa-Zarceno, an apparent contravention of sanctuary city polices that prevent cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities.
Figueroa-Zarceno is from El Salvador, engaged to a U.S. citizen and has an eight-year-old daughter. He was released from detention on Wednesday.
Figueroa-Zarceno, who spoke through an interpreter, described being stopped as he tried to leave the station, handcuffed and informed that he had to answer some questions. He was asked no questions but was subsequently released by the side of the building, where he was immediately arrested by an ICE agent.
San Francisco has been a sanctuary city since 1989, a status that prevents the police from enforcing immigration laws. In 2013 the city enhanced its sanctuary status with an ordinance entitled Due Process for All that further hampered police by preventing them from detaining illegals unless they were charged with a serious crime.
ICE officials have confirmed the detention but had no further comment on documents released that suggest communication between local and federal authorities.
In a statement last Friday, Sgt. Michael Andraychak of the San Franciso police confirmed that then-Police Chief Greg Suhr told San Franciso Mayor Ed Lee that Figueroa-Zarceno “never should have been taken into custody by ICE agents after being released from Southern Police Station.”
“It is the policy of the San Francisco Police Department to foster trust and cooperation with all people of the City and to encourage them to communicate with SFPD officers without fear of inquiry regarding their immigration status.” the statement continued.
The department is investigating and if any violations of policies and procedures are found, “there will be serious consequences,” the statement said.