San Francisco Awards Undocumented Immigrant $190,000 for Violating its Own Sanctuary Laws

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By Ian Miles Cheong | 6:19 am, June 30, 2017
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An undocumented immigrant who was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement by San Francisco police is to be awarded $190,000 in a settlement with the City Attorney’s Office. The police violated the city’s sanctuary ordinance, which bans police from cooperating with immigration authorities.

Pedro Figueroa-Zarceno

33-year-old Pedro Figueroa-Zarceno, who was the alleged victim of a car theft, sued the city of San Francisco on January 17 for violating its own sanctuary laws when police officers at Southern Station allegedly cooperated with immigration authorities to detain him.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, the El Salvadoran native was at the police station to report a stolen vehicle. Instead of helping him, police officers called immigration, who arrested him outside the station.

The Examiner writes that police reports and case documents showed that the police officers who detained Figueroa-Zarceno had run his name and found an arrest warrant, but were unable to find details on the warrant. He was released through the side door and picked up by ICE.

“It’s really important for San Francisco to remain a sanctuary city not in name only but also in practice,” said Saira Hussain, the attorney who represented Figueroa-Zarceno. She says that she hopes the settlement will encourage the city to follow its own sanctuary laws.

San Francisco’s sanctuary law, also known as Due Process for All Ordinance, prohibits police officers from cooperating with ICE, except in cases where violent crimes are involved. The law’s supporters say that the sanctuary status will allow illegal immigrants to report crimes they may otherwise not report for fear of deportation.