Sanctuary City, Not So Much

Obviously this isn’t going to turn into an immigration blog because of one post, but I invited people to share their stories of real immigration struggles.  This is one of those stories:

you invited immigration stories on your blog so i figured i would share one. i’m a social worker working with immigrant youth, most of whom are undocumented.

in mid-september, an 18 year old client of mine, let’s call him carlos, went missing for two days. he was waiting for his uncle at a bus stop on 9th and market where a witness told his uncle that the police took him away. his family called the police to locate him, but could not find him. finally, carlos called his family and told them he was in an ICE detention center in arizona. apparently, an undercover police officer tackled him from behind and started asking him questions in english. he didn’t understand and this seemed to upset the police officer more. carlos said the officer hit him, put him in a police car, and took him to 850 bryant. he didn’t get a phone call until he was in arizona.

sanctuary city, not so much.

carlos and his family came to this country from honduras because their lives were being threatened. while i know it shouldn’t matter, this young man fit absolutely no “street” profile. if it had been almost any other client of mine, i might have wondered what he said to the cop or what he was wearing, but not carlos. this kid is all button down shirts and waist high jeans that are appropriately sized. he was enrolled in high school, he was an A and B student, and his attendance was great. i’ve gotten letters of support from all his teachers, sent him his transcripts, and attendance records, but the judge didn’t care about any of it.

his bond was set at $20,000, which is preposterous. the family can manage the 10% for a bondsman, but not the collateral. the alternative is to find a reduced rate or probono lawyer (impossible) to help him fight his case in detention. he would likely argue political asylum, and could spend years in detention fighting that case just to get deported anyway. all we want is for him to be breathe some free air while the wheels of justice turn, which i figured would be cheaper for the feds but perhaps not. the immigration system is uneblievably absurd and cold; they are treating this young man as if he had committed some heinous crime.

Author: Kevin Montgomery

No one should have a biography at age 24.

31 thoughts on “Sanctuary City, Not So Much”

  1. FYI – there is a bonds company based out of fort lauderdale that will accept lines of credit on a credit card as collateral. It’s the only one I am familiar with that doesn’t require you to put up a house or a benz. You just have to make sure that the credit limit is ALWAYS more than the collateral amount.

  2. Waaaa, what part of illegal alien do you not understand? Your sob story is a slap in the face of those who immigrate here legally. Who cares that he’s not a gangster thug, wears properly sized pants and gets good grades? He shouldn’t be here in the first place.

    1. He’s actually probably eligible for asylum (or at least has a shot at it based on past persecution). You can probably go fuck yourself.

  3. Unfortunately, the sanctuary city activists pushed the SF Government too far the other way with previous policies (i.e., giving violent undocumented criminals — like Edwin Ramos — a get out of jail free card), and finally the law abiding citizens said enough is enough. The current policies were a reaction to the ridiculous previous policies and alas, sanctuary city advocates, you reap what you sow.

    1. This comment shows an incredibly uneducated viewpoint on what it means to be a sanctuary city. The issue was that Ramos had a juvenile record, which is something that it’s very normal to ignore when dealing with felon/non-felon distinctions (a juvenile who has committed a felony is usually able to vote, etc.).

      The point of having a sanctuary city is to adopt a pragmatic approach to immigration that helps both legal and illegal residents. There is a large demand for illegal labor in the US economy. If this wasn’t the case, you wouldn’t have so many people coming into the US illegally. Of course it’s horrible that this guy killed the family, but his illegal status is a huge red herring.

      1. First, let me say I support the idea of sanctuary city. But my point was that the advocates went too far in their demands, and still do as they protest ICE raids on gang member households, etc. But OK, I will take the bait of your red-herring argument that the previous comment was “incredibly uneducated” because the illegal immigrant Ramos was a juvenile. Surprising that someone as supposedly “educated” on the issues as yourself would be so uninformed, but I will
        counter with the fact that some 372 *convicted* *adult* illegal immigrant felons were also not reported to ICE.

        So go ahead and replace “–like Edwin Ramos–” with “–like 372 convicted adult illegal immigrants–” Better?

        And why was this the case? Because the city was getting all kinds of heat from loud special interest groups such as La Raza, and likely the likes of “jimbeam” every time ICE came in to try to arrest MS13 gangbangers, since SFPD was too afraid to do so because of how the city chose to interpret “sanctuary city”.


  4. I’m not saying this story doesn’t suck and that he probably didn’t get treated fairly by the police, but I call bullshit on the cop just randomly tackling him from behind.

    1. This reminds me of the story of the woman who got up to speak against the Juvenile ICE referral issue with a story that her son was arrested for witnessing something legal that happened. If anything SF cops bend over backward and look the other way at criminal activity in this city. They play soccer with MS13 for chrissakes!

      1. Really. The Gang Task force has a soccer team and MS13 has a soccer team. They play against eachother… you know, to build community relations.

  5. There’s always two sides to a story. For every one “good illegal alien”, there’s at least 5 bad apples out there that NEED to be deported but probably won’t because of scum like Supervisor Avalos who are more interested in doing more for them than the average hard working, TAX PAYING citizens of San Francisco.

    Oh and the next time you complain that you get robbed with no cops to be found or that public transit sucks, or why the schools keep begging you for money? Look no further than illegal immigration.

    1. well its probably the reverse, for every one of your bad apples there are five good apples.. or whatever. but their story is never told – even though most economists think that they are a net gain to the economy since they pay taxes – start businesses by homes, provide you with cheaper goods and services… etc. etc. etc….

      but other than that, totally agree – illegal aliens are to blame for muni’s woes – not Muni, its union, and the people whose job is to oversee it. no. it’s the people lured here by jobs so we can have cheaper asparagus, and tacos.

    2. Yeah– Eric. For every ‘one good [US citizen] there’s at least 5 bad apples out there that NEED to be deported’… That’s a great way to play the odds, really.

      Oh, and FYI: undocumented workers often times use someone else’s Social Security Number, and pay taxes just like you– only they never collect it, unlike you. So your ‘tax paying citizens’ doesn’t hold any water.

      1. Those illegals steal someone elses ss#, and in most cases it’s multiple illegals using the same #, which ends up costing some citizen tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax bills and fines. I’ve read countless reports of what identity theft does to innocent citizens, so can the hard luck stories for the illegal scumbags.

      2. Now they’re doing us a favor when they sell our Social Security number to someone over at 20th and Mission?

  6. i’m confused.

    what should happen then? how should law enforcement behave? government? citizens?

    should the “laws” – and maybe the laws suck – just be ignored? should every case be a judgment call? whose judgment then?

    without delving into “illegal immigrants are the source of all our problems” stupid monologue, really stupid – what about the laws? what about people who follow them? and people who don’t?

    should everyone here – that didn’t follow the laws – be allowed to stay? under whatever terms they like?

    and if not everyone, then who? only A students? only kids? moms? grandmas? what about people that commit just a misd? what about 10 misd? what about people with severe disabilities needing help?

    it’s a complicated situation. but there are laws.

    if people don’t like the laws, fight to change them.

    but shouldn’t we agree that it’s right & just for law enforcement to, like, enforce the law?

    or is that not OK either?

    i’m confused.

  7. Edwin Ramos may or may not have been a juvenile when he was set free with no punishment, as it has been documented that many of the undocumented immigrants who claimed to be juveniles were in fact — not. How can you tell when they’re not documented, so they were given the benefit of the doubt and it became policy to send them home on our dime, or off to some easy camp for “rehab”. The sanctuary city activists — a vocal group of activists with one agenda that ultimately tipped the scales against the safety of law abiding citizens — are responsible for the public attitude today that leans against sanctuary city. Sanctuary city was established to protect immigrants who were fleeing war and violence, and today’s activists have used it in part to advocate sanctuary for violent criminals simply because they are undocumented latino immigrants. That’s a fact. Such advocacy does a dis-service to the original intention of the sanctuary city movement (which I support), and has led to a the backlash that we see today.

    1. Sorry, it’s not a fact. No one’s turned the city into a sanctuary for violent criminals. Your logic is pretty on par with mission mission commenting, though, so kudos for that.

      1. still confused. you seem to be an expert. can you help me understand? without decrying every undocumented immigrant as a criminal – which technically, they are, by some definition – what should happen? is there a simply stated answer?

      2. You are clearly part of the problem. And sorry, but it is a fact. I did not say that the current sanctuary city advocates have “turned the city into a sanctuary for violent criminals.” I said they the advocates “have used it in part to advocate sanctuary for violent criminals”. In fact, recently a U.S. District Court judge wrote that the sanctuary city policy was causing the city to stonewall investigations against the notoriously violent MS13 gang. If you have ever seen these thugs operate — surrounding unsuspecting individuals who happen to be wearing red and beating the shit out of them, or worse, you may have an inkling about their violence. I have seen it on numerous occasions, including bottles to the face, and several shootings.

        Having a policy that prevents investigation and prosecution of such individuals leads to these violent gang members remaining in our community to commit more violence. That is a fact. Some “Juvenile” illegals have admitted that they are in fact not juveniles, and it is reported that 30% were in fact not juveniles. That is a fact, but the city prefers to give them the benefit of the doubt because of “sanctuary city” (see:

        Here is what the judge had to say about S.F.s sanctuary city policies hampering investigations against the (yes, violent) MS13 criminals:

        “In an order filed Oct. 5, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup wrote that San Francisco’s sanctuary protocols caused bureaucratic “stonewalling” by San Francisco cops. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Christopher Merendino testified that SFPD gang officers denied him access to “alpha files,” comprehensive summaries of suspects’ gang activities and history, for two months before ICE finally obtained a grand jury subpoena to force the police to turn over documents. Outside the office, the SFPD sometimes refused to help ICE with field operations; in 2007, police declined an ICE request to stake out a gang meeting in Crocker Amazon Park. On another occasion in 2008 and “numerous” other times, Merendino testified, S.F. police wouldn’t help execute search warrants: “San Francisco police officers are very, very concerned about contact with ICE acts … the policy’s very vague,” so officers would rather not have any contact with ICE.”

      3. You’re conflating issues:

        1. SFPD refusing to turn over gang files to ICE in no way keeps gang members in SF. Instead, they SFPD gang task force is dealing with them. What do you think is happening? The SFPD isn’t arresting them because they’re illegals? Of course not. Instead, this is a huge states rights v. federal powers argument that really has little to do with immigration and more to do with who can do what with what records.

        2. People are not advocating for the rights of violent criminals. When you say this you make yourself look like an idiot because it’s an obvious straw man.

        3. I am VERY familiar with the MS13. Again, this is a red herring. The sanctuary city policies are there to protect illegal immigrants from what the city of SF believes are unfairly brutal immigration practices that, ultimately, hurt the city more than they help.

      4. Hey jimbeam, shoot me an e-mail if you’re still reading this. evanchill [at] I’m working on something related and I’d like to talk.

      5. Jimbeam, I see you like to tell people to fuck off, tell people they’re idiots and tell people they’re uninformed, but other than that, you refuse to see that this is a real issue for many people living in the Mission who have to deal with the blight, violent crime and property crime that comes along with gang activity here (are you in the Mission or in Berkeley?) And it is disingenuous of you to say that “people are not advocating for the rights of violent criminals” when in fact, every time there’s an ICE raid on some gangs, La Raza goes apoplectic and mobilizes the all-too-familiar protest machine. Yes, gangbangers are sons and boyfriends and brothers (and sisters) and husbands, and I’m sure it pains a mother to see her can-do-no-wrong son hauled off to a detention camp in Arizona, and from that point of view, no they are not advocating for violent criminals — they are advocating for family members, friends, and loved ones.

        The only time I’ve ever seen a meaningful dent in the MS13 gang presence in the Mission is when ICE came in a few years ago and arrested about 15 of them in one fell swoop — that after years and years of nothing meaningful from SFPD –or more likely, nothing meaningful from Kamala Harris. I’m sure the SFPD would “deal with them” a lot more effectively if they weren’t hamstrung by the previous interpretation of the sanctuary city policies — and they could turn them over to ICE where they can be more effectively “dealt with” than here in SF where we have a completely ineffective DA.

        And out of curiosity, when you say you are very familiar with MS13, is it through your sanctuary organization that you have developed this familiarity? Or are the clients you work with victims of MS?

      6. And in case you missed the main argument of my first post on this topic, let me reiterate, because I am aware of the intention of the original what sanctuary city policies :

        1) I support the spirit of sanctuary city
        2) What I do NOT support is sanctuary city for criminals. My contention is merely that the current sanctuary city backlash is due to advocates who pushed the sanctuary city interpretation too far — to cover all (usually latino) undocumented immigrants– so that criminals were being provided sanctuary also. Thta’s it.

        The fact that jimbeams come up with every excuse under the sun as to how the activities of sanctuary city advocates are in no way, shape or form working to protect undocumented immigrants who are also committing crimes is just ludicrous.

        I’ve already cited the fact that hundreds of adult convicted criminals were not turned over to ICE because of the previous interpretation of the Sanctuary City policy (an interpretation which surely was arrived at due in part to sanctuary city advocates and their supporters on the SF BoS). That should be enough right there for any reasonable person to understand how the original sanctuary city policy has been corrupted.

        And contrary to stories of isolated incidents in which one guy is tackled from behind for no reason at all by an overzealous SF cop hell-bent on arresting and deporting an illegal, I would suspect that many of the undocumented immigrants who are being arrested by SFPD and subsequently turned over to ICE are being arrested for a reason — i.e., criminal activity — whether it’s murder, assault, drug dealing, or scrawling your gang tag across the entire ceiling of the 14 Mission.

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