Ed Lee Changes City Policy for Undocumented Youth

May 16, 2011

Originally posted at New America Media.

by Suzanne Manneh

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced Tuesday that the city will not turn undocumented youth over to federal immigration authorities when arrested on a felony charge, reports Univision.

According to the news report, Mayor Lee said detained youth enrolled in school who can prove they have family ties in the Bay Area will not be reported to immigration authorities.

Lee's decision comes three years after then-Mayor Gavin Newsom announced a new policy requiring police to contact US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when they arrested a minor on felony charges whom they suspected of being an undocumented immigrant. In October 2009, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a law meant to prevent the city from cooperating with ICE unless the minor had been convicted of a felony. Newsom vetoed the law, and the board overrode his veto. However, Newsom refused to enforce the Board of Supervisors' version of the policy.

Mayor Lee told Univision this week that his decision reflects the spirit of San Francisco being a “sanctuary city” which assures that local authorities do not hand over undocumented immigrants unless they are charged with a felony.