SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The future of San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy is up for debate after one supervisor proposed adding an exception to it. That led to a rally ahead of Tuesday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
San Francisco is among the first 12 cities in the country to be dubbed a sanctuary city, prohibiting local police from stopping or arresting people based on their national origin or immigration status. Dozens of people came out to show support for the policy on Tuesday, pointing out that immigrants are people’s neighbors, friends and family.
But Supervisor Matt Dorsey recently introduced legislation that would add fentanyl crimes to the list the city considers for cooperating with federal prosecution. That list already contains violent crimes like carjackings, burglaries and shootings.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen sponsored a resolution for the board to condemn attacks on sanctuary city policies.
“We’re not going to fall for this age-old attack on immigrants,” she said. “We’re going to stand up for our sanctuary ordinance like we have many times in the past, and we will not let our immigrant brothers and sisters be scapegoated for every problem in San Francisco.”
“This is no more scapegoating immigrants for fentanyl dealing than the 50 crimes that are already exceptions to sanctuary,” Dorsey said. “There have always been crimes that are exceptions here.”
Supervisor Shamann Walton was also at the rally before the meeting to support Supervisor Ronen’s resolution to condemn Dorsey’s legislation.
“There is no way we’re going to stand by and allow people to say that one race or immigrants are responsible for these fentanyl deaths,” he said.
Many community leaders like Stephany Arzaga with Legal Services for Children spoke at the rally and again in the board meeting’s public comment to support the sanctuary city ordinance.
“This recycled war on drugs that only scapegoats immigrants will only make the overdose crisis worse, which is why we should uphold and protect our sanctuary ordinance,” she said.
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But there were also public comments from people supporting the addition of fentanyl dealers as an exception to the sanctuary city ordinance.
“I oppose Item 37, the resolution put forward by supervisors Ronen, Walton, Preston, Melgar and Chan, and I support Dorsey,” one speaker said.
The board voted unanimously to continue the debate at next week’s meeting on March 7.