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SF Supervisors, Immigration Advocates Rally Against Proposal to Amend Sanctuary City Policy

Immigrant advocates and some supervisors gathered at city hall Tuesday to rally against a proposal to amend San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy.

That proposal would strip sanctuary protections from immigrants who are convicted of dealing fentanyl. It’s a controversial idea in a city that was among the first in the country to adopt sanctuary policies.

Many speakers at the city hall rally have an impassioned defense of the sanctuary city policies.

“Do not! Do not mess with our sanctuary city ordinance, right? We must protect it,” said Olga Miranda, labor organizer.

“You cannot violate sanctuary city policy for any reason. It goes against the morals of our fabric here of San Francisco,” said Supervisor Shamann Walton.

Several speakers said that people who are arrested for dealing drugs in the city are themselves often victims of human trafficking, and need sanctuary city protections.  

“In many, many instances they are forced to come to the U.S. against their will and by the use of force, threat of harm, and physical harm. Forced to work against their will in drug-related sales,” said Stephanie Arzaga or Legal Services for Children. 

Supervisor Matt Dorsey is the one proposing the amendment to the city’s sanctuary city ordinance.

“It would be highly unusual to encounter human trafficking victims who are as heavily armed as drug dealers are in San Francisco,” said Dorsey.

He represents the south of Market District, which has been hit hard by the fentanyl crisis.

On Tuesday, he shared a presentation that illustrates how deadly fentanyl is. According to his figures, more than 1,400 people died of fentanyl overdoses in the city from 2020 to 2022.

That’s a death toll that’s higher than the next three causes combined. 

Dorsey said San Francisco’s sanctuary policy already exempts 45 violent or serious felonies — he wants to add dealing fentanyl to that list.

Drug treatment advocates support Dorsey’s proposal, saying it could be a deterrent for dealers to help curb the city’s fentanyl crisis.

“We need all the public health approaches possible that we can have to reduce demand, but you have to do something about the supply,” said Thomas Wolf, drug treatment advocate. 

Supervisor Hilary Ronen has introduced a resolution to be heard at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting, essentially opposing supervisor Dorsey’s proposed legislation.

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Source: NBC Bay Area

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