First Asian American Sheriff Says SF Won’t Help ICE Deport Immigrants

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California’s first Asian American sheriff, Paul Miyamoto, said that the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) will not help federal agents deport undocumented immigrants from the city.

“Our department is not involved in immigration enforcement,” Miyamoto told KTVU2. “We feel that is a federal matter, and our realm of interest is public safety, and you can’t really have a safe community if the community members are afraid to come to us to report crimes.”

About 100 additional officers are being deployed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in dealing with the matter.

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However, it was not disclosed where the officers are being sent, but ICE’s acting director said they will send the additional officers to sanctuary cities “in jurisdictions where we are not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, our officers are forced to make at-large arrests of criminal aliens who have been released into communities. This effort requires a significant amount of additional time and resources.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed stated that the city will continue to stand by its sanctuary city policies.

“We’ll continue to support our immigrant community and stand up for our city and we’re putting resources toward accomplishing that goal,” she said.

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Breed added that the city’s policies have made it a target for the Trump administration.

“We’re being targeted on so many levels,” she said. “But, the fact is we’re a strong city, we’re a resilient city and we will fight against those attacks and we will protect the people of this city.”

The SFPD said they have not yet received an official statement from federal officers, but heard that the crackdown would be regional.

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San Francisco is one of the 13 jurisdictions in the United States that prohibit cooperation with federal immigration officials, according to Fox News. The city has been the epicenter of the sanctuary city movement since 1989 and regularly provokes the Trump administration’s crackdown against undocumented immigrants.

However, Trump’s persistence to detain illegal immigrants has only solidified more support on local levels.

“The Board of Supervisors, and even to some extent the Mayor’s Office, has been more unified in defending sanctuary because there’s this clear outside threat that is absolutely racist, anti-immigrant and engaging in white nationalism,” former police commissioner and criminal justice attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Angela Chang said.

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The comments from San Francisco officials came after the Trump administration announced its plan to deploy immigration officials to sanctuary cities. Its decision was an escalation of the bitter relationship between the administration and cities that refused to work with federal immigration officials, including Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

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