Despite protests from immigrant rights groups, it appears a new
sheriff's booking program that will allow more information to flow between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities will move forward in San Francisco, though a week later than previously thought.
The controversial Secure Communities program has drawn the concern of San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who warned that it will conflict with the city's sanctuary policy shielding those booked for minor crimes. He warned that thousands more will now be reported to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.
Hennessey has said he was told the program, which is being
implemented nationwide, would begin in San Francisco Tuesday, but an ICE spokeswoman said Tuesday morning it will actually begin June 8.
ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the June 1 activation date "was discussed at one point as a possibility, but ICE always underscores that the Secure Communities deployment schedule is projected and subject to change."
In California, the program is already active in 17 counties,
including Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano and Sonoma counties.
Under the new system, the fingerprints of those arrested for any
crime -- felony or misdemeanor -- will be shared with ICE via the state criminal database to determine whether to place an immigration hold and initiate deportation proceedings. Previously, the sheriff would only report the names of arrestees whose residency could not be verified.
ICE claims Secure Communities will allow greater screening to
catch violent criminals, including those with prior convictions,who lie about their name or residency at booking, and prevent them from later being released back into the community.
A resolution urging the city to opt out of the Secure Communities program, sponsored by eight supervisors, is still being considered by the Board of Supervisors.
Attorney General Jerry Brown, whom Hennessey had petitioned to allow San Francisco to opt out, refused the request on May 25.