The San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network (“SFILEN”) joins communities throughout San Francisco in mourning the loss of Kathryn Steinle. We are devastated to see yet another victim of gun violence in this country. As a network of 13 community based organizations which work with victims and survivors of crime in San Francisco, we extend our deepest condolences to Ms. Steinle’s family and loved ones.
It is because of our work with immigrant survivors of crime that we have fought hard to maintain the separation between local criminal policing and civil immigration enforcement. For too long, our immigrant clients lived in fear that seeking police protection from domestic violence or other criminal threats would cause them to be detained, without a warrant or probable cause, and for immigration agents to begin civil removal proceedings. Community mistrust of local police impeded immigrant cooperation with investigations of crime, and made our city less safe.
In recent years, San Francisco and hundreds of other jurisdictions around the country recognized that ICE “holds” – the practice of detaining immigrants without probable cause or a warrant — were making our communities less safe and leading to record breaking number of deportations which tore apart hardworking immigrant families. These jurisdictions recognized that the U.S. constitution has struck a careful balance between crime prevention and unwarranted detention, even for non-citizens and other minorities, and began to insist that the federal government follow basic procedures of due process before requesting that a non-citizen be detained.
In this painful moment, we invite our fellow San Franciscans to join us in mourning the victims of violent crime, and continuing to fight to make our city more safe for all its residents by supporting the current limits on ICE detainers.