SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco is rethinking its “sanctuary city” status as fentanyl continues to kill a staggering number of overdose victims.

Investigators believe that a significant percentage of people selling drugs in San Francisco — as many as half — are undocumented immigrants.

“It is time to withdraw the protection of sanctuary from undocumented immigrants trafficking fentanyl on our streets,” Supervisor Matt Dorsey said Tuesday.

Dorsey is proposing legislation to change San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies to exclude undocumented immigrants who are arrested for dealing the powerful opioid.

The legislation would deny “sanctuary” to adults who have been convicted of a fentanyl-dealing felony within the past seven years, and re-arrested for another fentanyl-dealing crime or violent felony crime.

The change would allow local law enforcement officials to honor civil immigration detainers from federal authorities for possible deportation.

The San Francisco Police Department seized more than 65 kilograms of fentanyl — about 144 pounds — from drug dealers in the Tenderloin last year.

Dorsey’s office wrote, “With just two milligrams of fentanyl estimated to be a lethal overdose for most people, SFPDʼs drug seizure haul from street-level drug dealers in 2022 represents enough fentanyl to kill every adult in California.”

Toxicology statistics compiled by Chief Medical Examiner show fentanyl caused 451 of the city’s 620 fatal overdoses reported in 2022, and 477 of 640 fatal overdoses in 2021.

“If San Francisco is to make progress on its overdose prevention strategy, supply-side
interventions must be part of it,” Dorsey said. “My legislation is a harm-reduction approach. It draws a hard line on the most lethal street drug San Francisco has ever faced. It will help save the lives of those struggling with substance use disorders, who deserve the same chance at recovery I had.”

“Our community is under attack from this illicit drug, and something has to be done on all
sides of the table,” said Cregg Johnson, director of TRP Academy and founder of Positive Directions Equals Change. “Dorsey is proposing a change that can help get fentanyl off our streets and hopefully save lives.”