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SF Promises City Services To Illegal Aliens

From those champions of the rule of law at the San Francisco Chronicle:

S.F. promotes services for illegal immigrants

Cecilia M. Vega, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A series of new television and radio commercials, billboards and bus shelter signs will soon go up around San Francisco advertising the fact that the city by the bay is also a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.

City officials on Wednesday unveiled the $83,000 ad campaign, which features images of smiling residents and the iconic city skyline and spreads the message in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian. Brochures, which will be handed out in public buildings like police stations and hospitals, promise safe access to city services for the undocumented and a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy when it comes residency status.

"We are standing up to say to all of our residents: We don’t care what your status is," Mayor Gavin Newsom said. "We care that you, as a human being, are a resident of our city and we want you to participate in the life of our city." …

But the campaign precedes the city’s plan in August to begin issuing municipal identification cards to city residents – regardless of whether they are in the country legally. Officials said they not only want immigrants to know about San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy, they want city workers, business owners and others to know the same…

Police Chief Heather Fong said officers will report undocumented immigrants if they have a felony arrest, but otherwise, "we do not work on enforcing immigration laws."

San Francisco became a sanctuary city in 1989 and since then it has barred city employees from helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents with immigration investigations or arrests, unless help is required by a federal or state law or a warrant.

It is the city’s formal policy to not report illegal immigrants to federal immigration agents when they visit public health clinics or hospitals, enroll their children in school, report a crime to the police or seek other city services or apply for benefits…

Newsom, a Democrat who is considering running for California governor in 2010, made headlines last year when he said he would not allow city department heads or "anyone associated with this city" to cooperate in federal immigration raids. Wednesday he said no other issue he has championed has received a more negative reaction from the public than his sanctuary city stance – "and that includes gay marriage."

"Until we get it right in this country on immigration, until we come to grips with the reality of newcomers from around the world … then it is appropriate to protect our citizens, to protect our residents and to protect our families," Newsom said.

Newsom made the announcement in his City Hall office, alongside a coalition of high-profile city leaders, from the police and fire chiefs to city department heads and representatives from churches and community groups.

The city recently created a position for an "immigrants rights administrator" to work with city agencies so that employees understand the sanctuary city policy and how to better serve immigrant communities.

City Administrator Ed Lee called San Francisco’s new sanctuary city ad campaign "not only the liberal thing to do, it’s the responsible thing."

¡Ay, caramba! 

In the words of that old Negro spiritual, "we shall be overcome."

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, April 3rd, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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