Board of Supervisors Vote To Give Undocumented Kids Their Day In Court

I'll take credit for that....

The Board of Supervisors made a statement today against Mayor Gavin Newsom's 2008 decision to report undocumented juveniles accused of felonies to immigration authorities. Supervisors Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd cast the only votes against David Campos' resolution that would push back the reporting of  undocumented juveniles to immigration until after they are convicted of a felony, not when they are merely charged with one. Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who has also weighed in also against Campos' measure, was at a funeral and did not attend.

The board will vote again on the measure at next week's meeting. If it passes once more (and absent flying pigs, we can't imagine it won't), the mayor has 10 days to veto the legislation (which, with a gubernatorial run in the works, we can't imagine he won't). The board will then have 30 days to override the veto -- and, yes, the required eight supes have all signed on. Sorry Gavin -- it's gonna happen, whether you like it or not. 

After the vote, immigrant activists and a small smattering of families barreled into the hallway and started a chant of "Si se pudo!" or "Yes, we did!" Campos left the chambers to address the many news cameras, asking "If we can't stand up for rights in San Francisco, where can we?"

Chu voted against the measure after "many sleepless nights about this issue," since she hails from an immigrant community. But Chu said she thought the legislation would allow the possibility of alleged criminals being let out of custody awaiting court dates they may never show up for. Campos responded that violent offenders and flight-risks would not be cavalierly released from custody by a judge.

Keeping with the family story motif, Supervisor Bevan Dufty talked about his mother, who fled German-annexed Czechoslovakia during World War II. He said he accompanied her to register as an "alien" each year at the post office in his childhood. He also mentioned a case at Mission High School in which a boy brought a toy gun to school and the administrators followed district policy to call the police. The student was then referred to immigration authorities.

Campos hit all the rhetorical points he's espoused in the press lately after the mayor's press office released a memo saying the city was likely to be sued if the legislation were to go into effect. Campos says that San Francisco has willingly faced legal challenges on other issues when the city felt it was "on the right side of history."  

After the meeting, one mother who only wanted to be identified as Maria said she was happy that kids will not be subjected to the same process her twenty-something son was. He's a restaurant cook who, she says, was arrested for wearing blue sneakers, a known Sureno gang color. She said the charges against him were dropped, yet he was reported to ICE and is now in deportation proceedings.

"Many families are suffering from this," she said, referring to the 160 kids who have been referred to immigration authorities since the change of policy last year. '[Immigration authorities] are within their rights to search for criminals...but they didn't give [my son] the chance to defend himself." 
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