San Francisco’s newly elected sheriff says there are open enforcement questions about a new policy that gives federal immigration officials instead of local agencies priority over inmates wanted for deportation.
Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said she awaits details on how the policy will be enforced, The Associated Press reported Feb. 24. Former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, defeated in the last election, had said he was bound by city laws barring cooperation with federal immigration officials.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the House Appropriations Committee that the Bureau of Prisons will first offer Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the option to take inmates facing deportation into custody.
Lynch said law enforcement agencies seeking to prosecute those inmates on other crimes will have to assure federal officials they will turn the inmates to ICE custody once their criminal cases have ended.
Lynch’s announcement was less than a year after a man wanted by immigration officials allegedly shot to death 32-year-old Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier. Bureau of Prison officials had transferred the suspect to San Francisco, where he was released instead of being deported for a sixth time, reported the AP.