Undocumented worker sues San Francisco for violating sanctuary law

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By Alex Dobuzinskis

<span class="articleLocation”>An undocumented immigrant from El Salvador is
suing San Francisco alleging police violated the city’s
sanctuary city policy by turning him over to U.S. immigration
authorities after he reported his car stolen.

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday on behalf of Pedro Figueroa
Zarceno, 32, in federal court in San Francisco against the city
and its police chief for violating his right to due process and
breaking an ordinance barring municipal employees from
cooperating with federal immigration authorities seeking to
deport a person.

Figueroa walked into a police station in November 2015 to
report his car stolen, according to the lawsuit. Two days later,
the car was found and when he went to recover it, he was
handcuffed and led outside where federal immigration agents were
waiting for him, the lawsuit said.

The civil action comes as San Francisco and dozens of other
U.S. cities face pressure from President-elect Donald Trump, who
takes office on Friday, to abandon their policies of limiting
cooperation between law enforcement officers and U.S.
immigration authorities.

“We’ll obviously have to review the lawsuit before we can
comment on it,” John Cote, a spokesman for the San Francisco
city attorney, said by phone. “That being said, San Francisco
has strong policies in place to encourage victims and witnesses
to report crimes without fear of being deported.”

The incident occurred about five months after an
undocumented immigrant was charged with murder in the shooting
of a woman at a San Francisco pier.

The shooting drew nationwide attention because the alleged
killer, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was previously arrested on
a drug charge and released from jail months before the shooting,
despite a request from federal officials that he be held until
they could pick him up. Sanchez has pleaded not guilty.

Figueroa’s attorney, Saira Hussain of the nonprofit group
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, said by phone it was a “possibility” that officers arrested her client because they
were influenced by the controversy over the Sanchez case.



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