Vallombrosa 300x100 12.2017

Protecting innocents in our ‘sanctuary city’

July 24, 2015
Roger Ritter
San Francisco

The “sanctuary city” policies are helpful to the extent they do not discourage San Franciscans, whatever their immigration status, from reporting crimes, but recently they have been misused to shield a serial offender, with terrible results.

San Francisco law currently permits cooperation with federal immigration authorities only with regard to people in custody who have had a violent felony conviction within the past seven years. The man charged with killing Kate Steinle did not meet that limited criterion. Some of Kate’s Rincon Hill neighbors have agreed the law should be amended to require San Francisco officials to cooperate with requests for notification by immigration officials of a person’s release from jail, when that person has any felony conviction on their record. They are circulating a petition to that effect.

This is a common-sense measure, but local officials and their enablers in the media have labeled calls for any changes to the current policy as “anti-immigrant.” This is a false charge made by those who, for their own political purposes, want no changes in the law at all, even at the risk of public safety.

No one I know wants to demonize immigrants. But the man who shot Kate is not an “immigrant.” To call him an immigrant insults millions of immigrants, legal and illegal, documented and undocumented, who came here to live, work and raise their families. He is not a single mother who wants to report an abusive boyfriend. He is a revolving-door deportee who kept coming back, committed crimes, and who has now killed someone. If the sheriff can’t distinguish between him and decent, hardworking, genuine immigrants, why bother to have a sheriff at all? Isn’t he allowed to have any discretion?

I urge civil and religious authorities, including Archbishop Cordileone, to work together to change the law to protect the innocent, not the guilty. Kate Steinle was one of those innocents. Let’s make San Francisco a “sanctuary city” for people like her.

Editor’s note: See Page 8 for Archbishop Cordileone’s statement to U.S. House and Senate judiciary committee hearings July 21 and 23 on immigration enforcement and sanctuary policies.

Letters policy

Email letters.csf@sfarchdiocese.org

Write Letters to the Editor, Catholic San Francisco, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco, CA 94109

Name, address and daytime phone number for verification required.

Short letters preferred: 250 words or fewer

Irish Help at Home flattened
McCoy's Flattened
Arch SF Development Alternate
Pontifical Mission Society - 230x100
St. Anthony's Foundation - 230x100

Catholic San Francisco
One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: 415-614-5639    Fax: 415-614-5641
E-Mail Us