S.F. Sheriff Fires Back At S.F. Mayor Over Sanctuary City Policy

Mayor Ed Lee (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
ustin Sullivan / Getty

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi laid into Mayor Ed Lee on Thursday in response to Lee’s July 14 letter regarding the details of San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies, which have come under intense scrutiny in light of the July 1 murder of Kathryn Steinle by an illegal alien.

City officials continue to lay blame on one another as well regarding flawed sanctuary city policy, but have attempted to steer conversation away from the policy and blame gun policy or other agencies.

Lee’s letter to Mirkarimi, posted by NBC Bay Area, read:

It has come to my attention that in March of 2015 you ordered your department to cease all communications with Federal Immigration authorities regarding Requests for Notification pertaining to undocumented, convicted felons. I urge you to rescind this policy immediately, in the interest of public safety.

Our Sanctuary Ordinance allows for this. Local law enforcement may notify federal officials when a particular individual is set for release in certain circumstances (Admin Code 12H-2.1), action not prohibited by our Civil Detainer policy from 2013 (Admin Code 121.3).

Mirkarimi responded on Thursday:

Your request to immediately rescind the policy contributes to the confusion and conflict between the Sanctuary City Ordinance (Administrative Code 12H.2) and the Due Process For All Ordinance (Administrative Code 12I).  I urge a resolution of these conflicts so that there is a consistent and uniform understanding of the laws.…

Your request to rescind the policy and require the SFSD to contact federal immigration officials would eviscerate the city’s Due Process For All Ordinance, an ordinance I supported and which you signed into law.…

In early 2015, I met with the Deputy Secretary and Secretary of Homeland Security separately on two occasions to confirm San Francisco’s laws and procedures.  I also expressed concern about the legality of the detainer/notification process.…

This tragedy spotlights the need for legal clarity at every government level,” stated Mirkarimi. “This matter requires an open and honest conversation about the legislative intent and meaning of San Francisco’s ordinances and how they comport with everyday enforcement of laws leading to deportations.

The Sheriff and Mayor have been at odds since Mirkarimi’s 2012 domestic assault conviction, over which Lee sought to have Mirkarimi removed from his position. The Sheriff ultimately retained his position with a Board of Supervisors’ vote that fell one vote shy of ousting him. Within days of releasing Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the man that would later shoot Steinle, Mirkarini had his own record expunged by a judge.

Members of the Board of Supervisors have been pointing fingers, laying blame and defending sanctuary city policies despite the Steinle killing. Mirkarimi also continues to defend the sanctuary city policy.

Mirkarimi has also attempted to blame U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for filing paperwork that he considered legally insufficient for him to call ICE with notification that Lopez-Sanchez was being released. Lopez-Sanchez confessed to shooting Steinle just two-and-a-half months after his release from the San Francisco Sheriff’s custody.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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