Opinion: Immigration policy, in Arizona and at home

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Editors note: This is an opinion piece the horrible immigration bill in Arizona -- and its connections here in SF.

By Angela Chan

Mayor Gavin Newsom and City Attorney Dennis Herrera have publicly opposed the anti-immigrant bill, SB 1070 in Arizona.  A diverse coalition of civil rights organizations – including the Arab Resource & Organizing Center, Asian Law Caucus, Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, Central American Resource Center, Community United Against Violence, Equal Justice Society, La Raza Centro Legal, National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, POWER, and Pride at Work SF -- applauds both city officials for taking a strong stand against the Arizona bill.  At the same time, we urge Newsom and Herrera to firmly and unequivocally support the implementation of a local policy that protects the due process rights of immigrant youth in San Francisco.

As with SB 1070 in Arizona, the mayor’s policy of requiring juvenile probation officers to report young people to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) before they receive due process has opened the door to racial profiling and torn many innocent youth from their families.

Since July 2008, pursuant to Newsom’s draconian reporting policy, more than 160 youth have been reported to ICE right after arrest, before they even have had a chance to be heard in juvenile court. That means that youth who are completely innocent of any crimes and youth who are overcharged have been reported to ICE.

Despite the veto-proof passage of a policy by the Board of Supervisors last fall that moves the point of reporting from the arrest stage to after a youth is found to have committed a felony, Newsom has insisted on ignoring the new city law.  Herrera, in turn, has yet to advise implementation of the new law.

Like the Arizona bill, Newsom’s policy requires reporting to ICE when local officials – in this case juvenile probation officers – merely have “reasonable suspicion” that an individual is undocumented. The factors that probation officers are required to use to determine reasonable suspicion have come under fire for codifying racial profiling into law.  Such factors as “length of time in the country” and “presence of undocumented persons in the same area where arrested or involved in the same illegal activity” have little to do with accurately determining an individual’s status, and much more to do with targeting the entire immigrant community and those who live in heavily immigrant communities.

In March, a year and a half after the mayor’s policy went into effect, Chief Probation Officer William Siffermann admitted before the Rules Committee of the Board of Supervisors that the latter factor could lead to racial profiling.  A few days later, Herrera stated that this factor had been removed from the policy.  However, if any changes have been made to the written policy, they have not been made available to the public.

Another similarity with the Arizona bill:  probation officers in San Francisco have not been properly trained and do not have the expertise in immigration law to accurately determine which youth are actually undocumented.  Rather, these officers rely on race, ethnicity, language ability, surnames, and accent as a basis for assuming immigration status.
Much like the Arizona bill, Mayor Newsom’s policy goes well beyond any obligations under federal law by requiring that probation officers report suspected undocumented youth to ICE.  As a cadre of legal scholars, including University of San Francisco Law Professor Bill Ong Hing, have repeatedly made clear, federal law does not require that city officials ask about immigration status or report individuals suspected of being undocumented to ICE.

Finally, as with the Arizona bill, the mayor’s draconian policy only compounds the harm to immigrant families caused by an already flawed federal immigration system, which is in drastic need of comprehensive reform. We need humane reform at the federal level, but in the meantime, Mayor Newsom and City Attorney Herrera need to take swift action to restore due process and protect family unity by ending San Francisco’s draconian policy. 

In standing up against racial profiling in Arizona, Mayor Newsom is back on the right track of defending immigrant rights -- now is the time to give immigrant youth and families fairness and due process in San Francisco.

Angela Chan is staff attorney with the Juvenile Justice and Education Project at the Asian Law Caucus

Comments

When the talking point from the goofy left was for people from out of state to butt out in our states business?

Posted by glen matlock on Apr. 30, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

When it comes to equality Gavin Newsom has stood tall and strong in this fight, you conservative gay-bashers have proven to us once again that you will do whatever it takes to slow down progress. We will stand behind Newsom in his Lt. Governor's race and the state of California will repeal prop 8.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2010 @ 11:42 pm
har

I voted no on 8, I'm all for gay rights.

But I do recall hearing the Bay Guardian left being upset that out of state Mormons, Catholics and goofy conservatives should mind their own business.

I also remember some talk about separation of church and state on these types of issues, but oddly I have read a number of Catholic types complaints on this illegal alien subject.

The question at hand is why are Guardian type liberals butting into Arizona's business when they where in such self righteous hysterics over others butting into ours?

Maybe you could not take that out of context and splain.

Posted by glen matlock on May. 01, 2010 @ 11:16 am

When it comes to equality Gavin Newsom has stood tall and strong in this fight, you conservative gay-bashers have proven to us once again that you will do whatever it takes to slow down progress. We will stand behind Newsom in his Lt. Governor's race and the state of California will repeal prop 8.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 30, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

Maybe instead of posturing and pandering these elected officials should deal with Californias issues, not Arizonas. Let Arizon decide their own states policy while we dig out of the fiscal hole that the residents of our state, legal or otherwise are unwilling to pay for. We still have an education system that students are unwilling to pay "fees" for, yet we have room to talk about Arizona? Thanks for more phony journalism Guardian.

Posted by Scott on May. 02, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

I did, indeed, complain about the Mormon and Catholic churches -- tax exempt entities -- pouring big money into the Prop. 8 campaign. I complained about the archbishop of San Francisco. I would have complained if the Mormons put that money into an anti-gay campaign in Utah. It ain't the out-of-state stuff, it's the thought of how many poor kids could have been fed and educated for the money the churches put into preventing people from getting married.

If Arizona residents wanted to boycott SF because we had gay marriage, all I would have done was laugh.

Posted by Tim Redmond on May. 02, 2010 @ 7:21 pm

Religions create non exempt entities to do politics, as far as I know that's where all that money came from. You don't seem to mind them getting their tax exempt entities involved in immigration though, there was a blog here a few weeks ago about a church doing such that was pretty pro religion getting involved.

These religious types tell people they are going to spend money on this law, and they should have spent it on food for children instead? I think Carol Midgen would like that scheme.

So if there is a fund raiser for paying for lawyers to overturn the law you are going to write a piece about staying out of Arizona's legal business, and you are going to tell all the other writers to do same so as to keep the Guardian coherent?

We both know that it just bugged the shit out of you people that these groups were getting involved in any way in California's business and you were just tossing out complaints to see what stuck.

Now you're just trying to figure a way to stick it to another state, after bitching about people from other states getting involved in CA.

Rush Limbaugh would have loved your "no wrong answer" waffle there.

Posted by glen matlock on May. 02, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

by Arizona over gay marriage why do you want them laughing at you over a boycott of them?

Do you think this shit through?

Posted by glen matlock on May. 02, 2010 @ 11:34 pm

I would have laughed because so few people would take it seriously. And if they did, hell, San Francisco's fine without them.

Arizona's law is wrong and racist; there's no other way to describe it. And this sort of boycott is already having an impact -- the owner of the AZ DIamondbacks, a conservative Republican and major donor to the AZ GOP, just announced he opposes the law, in part, it appears, because of the furor around the 2011 All Star game, scheduled for Phoenix and the subject of what could be a massive boycott.

 

Posted by tim on May. 03, 2010 @ 10:19 am

Guardian screams of racism sure don't have a lot of credibility, more comical than anything.

If there was a concerted boycott of SF and people in the tourism industry started losing their jobs and complaining about it, would you say they were racist?

I also didn't know illegal immigrant was a race.

The boycott will be forgotten about in a few months.

If a boycott of SF started to hurt the tourist industry and people who didn't have an opinion on the subject before came forward you would just call them names like "racist."

Alas, it looks like between 65 and 70% of Americans like the law, it may start catching on, boycott away.

Posted by glen matlock on May. 03, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

Radical chic
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

First coined by journalist Tom Wolfe, radical chic has entered broad usage as a derogatory term for the pretentious adoption of radical causes by celebrities, socialites, and high society. The concept has been described as "an exercise in double-tracking one's public image: on the one hand, defining oneself through committed allegiance to a radical cause, but on the other, vitally, demonstrating this allegiance because it is the fashionable, au courant way to be seen in moneyed, name-conscious Society."[1] Unlike dedicated activists, revolutionaries, or dissenters, those who engage in radical chic remain frivolous political agitators. They are ideologically invested in their cause of choice only so far as it advances their social standing.

"Terrorist chic" is a modern expression with similar connotations. This derivative, however, de-emphasizes the class satire of Wolfe's original term, instead accentuating concerns over the semiotics of radicalism (such as the aestheticization of violence).

Posted by glen matlock on May. 03, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

This law is a step backwards, yes, but I honestly don't see any other way of getting illegals out of the country. Simply asking them won't work, so I don't see any other way of getting them to leave short of a holocaust style roundup. And no, I'm not racist, it's just that there's no other semi-civil way to do this. I honestly don't know why they're complaining so much... in WWII my grandpa who lived in Hawaii was thrown in an internment camp and all of his land was confiscated (which he never got back after the war) and he WAS legal. Yea he was bitter, but he didn't complain about it half as much as all these illegals are about the country enforcing a law. If you have so much anxiety about being pulled over and getting deported, you should at least try riding a bike or walking (since you don't even have a license to begin with if you're illegal). I realize that the economy is dependent upon the amazing savings that can be made by hiring illegal workers, but the problem I have with them being here is that they are confined to only the bottom tiers of America's society. And no, I'm not talking about Mexicans in general, because a lot of them are moving up in society - I'm referring to illegals, who will prob never get a soc sec #, and will thus be stuck in their existence of ridiculously underpaid manual labor. By having illegals in this country, we're essentially perpetuating a class of slavery, whereas in Mexico, they would have chances to progress since they are actual citizens there (considering that Mexico undergoes major changes in its, er, "management."

Posted by charlierichards on Sep. 23, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

This law is a step backwards, yes, but I honestly don't see any other way of getting illegals out of the country. Simply asking them won't work, so I don't see any other way of getting them to leave short of a holocaust style roundup. And no, I'm not racist, it's just that there's no other semi-civil way to do this. I honestly don't know why they're complaining so much... in WWII my grandpa who lived in Hawaii was thrown in an internment camp and all of his land was confiscated (which he never got back after the war) and he WAS legal. Yea he was bitter, but he didn't complain about it half as much as all these illegals are about the country enforcing a law. If you have so much anxiety about being pulled over and getting deported, you should at least try riding a bike or walking (since you don't even have a license to begin with if you're illegal). I realize that the economy is dependent upon the amazing savings that can be made by hiring illegal workers, but the problem I have with them being here is that they are confined to only the bottom tiers of America's society. And no, I'm not talking about Mexicans in general, because a lot of them are moving up in society - I'm referring to illegals, who will prob never get a soc sec #, and will thus be stuck in their existence of ridiculously underpaid manual labor. By having illegals in this country, we're essentially perpetuating a class of slavery, whereas in Mexico, they would have chances to progress since they are actual citizens there (considering that Mexico undergoes major changes in its, er, "management."

Posted by charlierichards on Sep. 23, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

So every potential juvenile offender that has an accent is referred to immigration officers? There's a huge assumption right there that immigrant youth are more likely to commit crimes. It is profiling at its best!

Posted by Birmingham DUI Lawyer on Oct. 26, 2010 @ 3:59 pm