Up against ICE - Page 2

Immigrant-rights groups challenge the mayor to stand behind SF's sanctuary ordinance

A Republican loyalist, Ryan was the only US Attorney to be fired for cause during US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' infamous purge of the Justice Department in December 2006.

His December 2007 hiring by Newsom was seen as a calculated move to make the mayor-who-would-be-governor look tough on crime and immigrants — cards that play well among voters in more conservative parts of the state.

It didn't help that Ryan's hiring coincided with Russoniello's second term as US Attorney for the Northern District of California.

Public records obtained by the Guardian show that as the Chronicle series unfolded, Ryan and Newsom's communications director, Nathan Ballard, began to question whether the city should even fund programs or organizations that serve undocumented youth.

With ICE raids intensifying — May 2 at El Balazo Taqueria, Sept. 11 at a private residence — and the community accusing the police of racial profiling, the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee chose Dec. 18, International Migrants Day, to publicize its pledge.

As of press time, Newsom has refused to meet with the committee, and Chan from the Asian Law Caucus, told us that members are "feeling snubbed."

But Chan reports that SFPD Chief Heather Fong, who announced Dec. 20 that she will be retiring in April, 2009, did meet and listen to the coalition's concerns. "She reiterated her position that the SFPD only collaborates when ICE is seeking a specific list of people," Chan said.

With Fong under attack from within her own department for her refusal to let officers collaborate with ICE, the community is now abuzz with rumors that a hardliner could now be handed the chief's reins.

Meanwhile, Supervisor-elect John Avalos and Sups. David Campos and Chris Daly have signed the pledge, while Supervisor-elect Eric Mar and Sup. Bevan Dufty have signed modified versions. And at the Dec. 18 Migrants Day protest, Sups. Jake McGoldrick and Ross Mirkarimi and Supervisor-elect David Chiu (who noted that Sup. Carmen Chu, while absent from the rally, is an immigrant rights supporter) joined gay rights and labor and religious leaders in announcing support for the coalition's platform, which seeks to make dignity, equality, and due process a reality for all San Franciscans, including immigrants.

As Eric Quezada, Dolores Street Community Services executive director, told the crowd, "We're here to defend the fundamental human rights of all immigrants." *

P.S. The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee is a growing alliance encompassing immigrant rights advocates, labor groups, faith leaders, and LGBT activists. The committee includes the ALDI, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Asian Law Caucus, Asian Youth Advocacy Network, Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, Central American Resource Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Communities United Against Violence, EBASE, Global Exchange, H.O.M.E.Y., Filipino Community Center, Instituto Familiar de la Raza, La Raza Centro Legal, La Voz Latina, Legal Services for Children, Mission Neighborhood Resource Centers, Movement for Unconditional Amnesty, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, PODER, POWER, Pride at Work, SF Immigrant Legal & Education Network, SF Labor Council, SF Organizing Project, St. Peter's Housing, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, and Young Workers United.