San Francisco’s sanctuary policies have helped to dismantle cultural barriers that for years led to rampant exploitation of the most vital members of our community. Sanctuary cities are cities who have policies designed to not persecute undocumented immigrants. These practices can be by law (de jure) or they can be by habit (de facto). Most importantly, the policy in San Francisco has saved hundreds of thousands of lives of people who if deported would face certain torture and death. The recent uproar against this important policy is mis-guided and risks destroying the progress we’ve made in creating a safe environment for everyone.
In the interest of public safety, countless law enforcement agencies across the country engage in some form of sanctuary policy — officially or unofficially. They recognize that if you want to maintain public safety for the entire community, you must have the trust of every segment of the community. Once a part of the community becomes distrustful of the police, victims and witnesses of crimes will not come forward to confide in the police. As a result, crimes go unreported and unsolved and the entire community is put in greater danger as a result.
Sanctuary policies send an important message of inclusion, integration, and outreach to immigrant communities in our increasingly diverse nation. Any partnership or cooperation between local police and ICE sends a message of immigration enforcement that chills the immigrant community from trusting local police.
The adoption of sanctuary policies at a time while pockets in our nation are frenzied over immigration is an important, bold statement of support of human rights. Choosing sanctuary policies over policies of fear tells immigrants, and the rest of the population, what kind of community our leaders and law enforcement officials are choosing.
Abandoning our sanctuary policies would be closed-minded and will only breed tension and distrust that threatens public safety. The choice of sanctuary is one of smart policing — one that embraces change and encourages integration in the hopes of building a stronger, safer community. That choice also represents an important step toward avoiding the pitfalls of division, hate, and insular living.
From the Campaign Office of Francisco Herrera, Candidate for Mayor of San Francisco
Press Contact: Michelle White
Ph. 415 368–9656