S.F. again asks to opt out of fingerprint program it fears targets illegal immigrants

But Brown disagrees, saying policy 'advances law enforcement objectives'

San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey and immigration rights advocates Wednesday renewed their call to allow San Francisco to opt out of a new federal fingerprint reporting program aimed at criminals suspected of being in the country illegally.

Federal immigration officials said they would consider the request.

The Secure Communities program, begun in 2008 and being implemented across the country by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has drawn the ire of immigration groups who say the program is being used to sweep up undocumented immigrants whether or not they have committed serious crimes.

The groups argue the program also dissuades immigrants from reporting crimes in their communities, for fear they too will be deported. They claim it drives a wedge of distrust between the immigrant community and local law enforcement.

"I am not unwilling to cooperate with ICE with regard to serious (offenders) charged with felonies," Hennessey told reporters during a conference call with immigration groups Wednesday morning.

Hennessey said he had reported felony suspects believed to be in the country illegally before Secure Communities was implemented in the San Francisco June 8, and would continue to do so under the city's sanctuary ordinance.

Hennessey, worried that Secure Communities would conflict with the sanctuary policy shielding those booked for minor crimes, had asked ICE and the state Department of Justice to allow him to opt out of the program prior to its implementation in San Francisco.

The program -- which is now operating in 35 California counties, including all nine Bay Area counties, Los Angeles and San Diego -- shares the fingerprints of anyone booked into jail after an arrest, whether for a felony or misdemeanor, to be shared with ICE's federal databases to help determine if that person are in the country illegally.

The Justice Department is the go-between that shares fingerprints with ICE.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown rejected Hennessey's request in late May, saying Secure Communities "advances important and legitimate law enforcement objectives."


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Posted by BornNRaised
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 2, 2010 at 11:20 am

This doesn't make sense at all. What is wrong with targeting "ILLEGALS"? Since when is it wrong to uphold the laws of our nation? Pleasanton police regularly target Illegal drivers with their DUI Checkpoints. Why? Because it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. Well guess what, it is also illegal to be in the United States of America with out proper documentation. So what is so wrong with targeting someone in our country who is doing something illegal?

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Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Stupid. What is most concerning about this, is this fingerprinting reporting is for people who have been arrested and booked for a crime. These aren't innocent immigrants living here illegaly working to better their own lives and our society. These are people here illegaly commiting crimes.

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Posted by P-town Dad
a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 3, 2010 at 8:48 am

I'm very confused. This article talks about "illegal" immigrants and then says the S.F. police chief is against this program which targets "criminals" who are in this country "illegally." Isn't the police chief's job to enforce the law? Aren't the targeted group here illegally? As a grandson and son of immigrants who obtained U.S. citizenship after following proper law I'm all for legal immigration, but illegal immigrants, especially those committing crimes, have no rights in this country and should be sent back to where they came from so we can direct our tax dollars towards fixing our education system and health care system.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm

not so fast mes petites...pretty is as pretty if you willing to round up ALL OF THE EUROPEAN, ASIAN & AFRICAN ILLEGALS, THEN MAYBE WE CAN TALK...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHA...TEE HEE HEE, EEH EEH EET...

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