Crossing the line - Page 7

How Mayor Newsom's policies are tearing apart families, imprisoning and imperiling children, and creating a climate of fear in immigrant communities
Immigration rally at City Hall
Photo by Lars Howlett

"There are citizens, and then there are people," Russoniello said.

Ugarte finds such arguments laughable. "The federal government has to make the argument that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to undocumenteds," Ugarte said. "These are hare-brained ideas that stem from hate and fear. The wonderful part of our country is that we have respect in the laws for all."

Ugarte believes that blaming the tragic Bologna murders on the city's immigrant youth policy is like arguing that putting people on parole leads to crime. "Yes, there are going to be bad apples," Ugarte said. "But that doesn't mean we can solve our problems by sending people to another country. L.A. thought it could get rid of gangs by deporting people to El Salvador. But guess what? They only grew the problem."

Patti Lee of the Public Defender's Office doesn't believe that the sanctuary policy will change unless the Board exerts financial pressure on Juvenile Probation. "I do not believe the policy will change because JPD is under orders from the mayor," Lee explained. "But JPD is supposed to comply with the legislation. So the Board of Supervisors, through its Public Safety Committee, could question JPD's chief about his current process and why he isn't complying with it. The board does have control over JPD's budget, so it can put the squeeze on them."

"When police arrest and detain an undocumented child and bring them into detention charged with a felony, the minute they come in front gate, JPD has been directed to contact ICE," Lee said. "So we are not even aware until a day or two later, when we receive a police report or when we get a house list the next day, if someone is ICEed or not."

If the kids are unaccompanied and there are no family members in town, they typically go to juvenile lock-up for 30 days and then are released to ICE and get deported," Lee said.

"They are being ICEed even if they are adjudicated," Lee added, noting how her department got one youth's charges reduced to misdemeanors but JPD reported the youth to ICE anyway, based on the current policy that any undocumented person booked on a felony should be reported at the moment of booking. "So they were ICEed without due process," Lee said. "And these are children."