Legal experts and civil rights groups, led by the Asian Law Caucus, weighed in yesterday in a legal memo (.pdf) supporting a proposed change to San Francisco’s policy on reporting juvenile suspects to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
The change, proposed by San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, would make it so that city officials can’t hand over juvenile suspects to federal immigration authorities unless they’re convicted of felonies.
“This policy change, which will help ensure that innocent youth are not wrongly reported to immigration officials for deportation, is supported by law professors and legal experts in the areas of immigration, constitutional, and juvenile law,” says the memo, signed by the Asian Law Caucus and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, among others. They cite law professors who they say agree with City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s assessment that the proposed law is legally defensible: Kevin Johnson, dean and professor at UC-Davis School of Law, Bill Ong Hing at UC-Davis School of Law, Michael Wishnie at Yale Law School, and Jayashri Srikantiah at Stanford Law School.
Between the lines, the memo criticizes Mayor Gavin Newsom’s treatment of the proposed change, which he panned by talking up potential legal challenges in an August San Francisco Chronicle story — a story that cited a confidential memo from Herrera’s office. Newsom’s spokesman later acknowledged that the mayor’s office had given the Chronicle the memo. In a footnote, the Asian Law Caucus and others quoted Herrera’s admonition that city attorney memos “are not intended to be fodder in political disputes.”
— Kate Moser