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  1. #1
    Senior Member cvangel's Avatar
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    Nov 2006

    S.F. sanctuary policy shielded up to 185 youths

    S.F. sanctuary policy shielded up to 185 youths
    Heather Knight, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Friday, April 3, 2009

    As many as 185 undocumented youths held on felony criminal charges in San Francisco were shielded from deportation between 2005 and last summer, when the controversial policy came to light, according to juvenile probation statistics obtained by The Chronicle.

    Gunman 'lying in wait' kills 3 Pittsburgh officers 04.04.09
    City officials had previously said they had no way of telling how many youths had benefited from the policy. But a new preliminary report prepared by the Juvenile Probation Department at the request of Supervisor David Campos shows the number is much higher than previously suspected.

    The report shows that between Jan. 1, 2005, and Feb. 28 of this year, 252 undocumented youths had cases in the juvenile probation system.

    It also shows 67 have been turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials since July when The Chronicle revealed that the city was paying for flights home and $7,000-a-month group homes for the young offenders instead of turning them over to federal officials. It's unclear how many, if any, of those 67 ultimately were deported.

    That means as many as 185 youths were shielded under San Francisco's sanctuary city policy in the 3 1/2 years before Mayor Gavin Newsom implemented the switch. He said the sanctuary-city policy was intended to allow undocumented immigrants to access services and report crimes without fear of deportation - but not to protect criminals.

    Of the 252 undocumented youths who were detained, 180 were suspected of drug offenses. The report focuses almost exclusively on those cases and gives no indication as to why the other 72 youths had cases in the system.

    The Honduras connection

    All the report says about the 252 youths is that every one of them is Latino, 98 percent are male, and 79.4 percent are from Honduras.

    William Siffermann, the city's chief probation officer, declined to make any comment or discuss details of the nondrug cases.

    Of the 180 held on drug charges, 87.8 percent are from Honduras and 178 are male. There were 295 total drug-related charges against them, meaning many of them were held on more than one charge or were arrested multiple times.

    The vast majority of the drug charges - 82.7 percent - were for hand-to-hand sales of heroin, cocaine or crack. Seventy-five percent of youths detained on drug charges were 16 or 17 years old, and almost 78 percent of the alleged drug offenses took place in the Tenderloin or Polk Gulch areas.

    Nathan Ballard, Newsom's press secretary, said he wouldn't comment on specifics of juvenile cases because they are confidential. But he said that in general, the statistics show undocumented youths are being detained and turned over to ICE, or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for serious crimes.

    "This report shows that the juveniles being referred to the federal authorities aren't jaywalkers," Ballard said. "The vast majority of them have been busted on serious drug charges."

    Of the 295 drug-related charges against undocumented youths, 85.1 percent resulted in a petition being filed by the district attorney's office, meaning 14.9 percent were dropped. Of those that went forward, 17.3 percent were eventually dismissed by a judge, and the rest were about evenly split between receiving probation and being placed in a group home or assigned to a longer stay in juvenile hall.

    But ICE statistics show the agency received 92 referrals from San Francisco regarding undocumented youths from June 11, 2008, through the end of that year, in addition to processing 17 such referrals this year. City officials said ICE does not pick up every undocumented youth it hears about from the city.

    Advocates say it's true the youths are being picked up on serious charges, but that the mayor is missing the bigger point: The youths are being trafficked from Honduras and are made to sell drugs in the Tenderloin to pay back their traffickers for bringing them here in the first place.

    The trafficking of youths from Honduras to San Francisco to sell drugs has been documented in media reports dating back to the early 1990s. Angela Chan, a staff attorney with the Asian Law Caucus, said the mayor's time and resources would be better directed at breaking up these drug rings.

    "Who is bringing these youth to this country? Who is supplying them with these drugs? That's the unanswered question," she said. "I don't want drugs in my community either, but I don't think it helps what we're doing to this group of youth."

    Chan and other immigrant advocates have been fighting the mayor's new policy of notifying ICE as soon as an undocumented youth is held - regardless of the outcome of the criminal case. Last week, the San Francisco Democratic Party passed a resolution condemning the policy, saying it's a violation of due process.

    Public Defender Jeff Adachi said the mayor's policy change last summer netted mostly drug dealers from Honduras. But since last fall, he said, his office has handled about 50 cases of undocumented immigrants referred to ICE even though they've spent most of their lives here.

    He cited one example of a 14-year-old Mission High student with a 3.8 grade point average who was born in Mexico but raised in San Francisco; he was booked on a felony for possession of a BB gun and referred to ICE.

    "When this policy was put into place, the intent was to deal with what was then identified as a specific problem with Honduran youth," Adachi said. "But we're seeing this policy affecting youth who have lived most of their lives in San Francisco, are in school and make a mistake."

    Ballard said the city is following state and federal law and does not violate due process as defined under state law.

    "The mayor's policy protects public safety and at the same time protects the due process rights of the accused criminals," he said.

    Fewer at juvenile hall

    The percentage of youths at juvenile hall who are undocumented has dropped considerably - from 31.3 percent in July to only 6.4 percent on March 17.

    That could be because undocumented youths' cases are getting resolved more quickly, because fewer of them are being detained because they know they face deportation, or because adults no longer claim to be youths upon being detained by police.

    Chronicle stories last year showed that as many as 30 percent of undocumented youths detained by police were actually adults claiming to be younger to avoid deportation.

    By the numbers


    Undocumented youths with cases in the juvenile probation system between

    Jan. 1, 2005, and

    Feb. 28, 2009


    Those charged with drug offenses


    Total number of drug charges against the 180 youths


    Turned over to federal officials for possible deportation since July

    6.4 Current percent of youths held at juvenile hall who are undocumented, down from a high of 31.3 percent in July
    Chronicle staff writer Jaxon Van Derbeken contributed to this report. E-mail Heather Knight at

    This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle ... ss.bayarea

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2008
    He cited one example of a 14-year-old Mission High student with a 3.8 grade point average who was born in Mexico but raised in San Francisco; he was booked on a felony for possession of a BB gun and referred to ICE.
    And you have a problem with this because?
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    ELE is offline
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2007

    The Gov't is responcible for criminal illegals action

    Any legal citizen that has suffered a crime from an illegal must sue the Gov't because the Gov't is responcible for the illegal being in SF.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    HEY , Give the poor kids some compasion , their only here for a better life " OF CRIME " .

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