Feds deny latest attempt to protect city workers 

San Francisco again has been rebuffed by federal officials in its attempt to shield city workers from being prosecuted for activities related to The City’s sanctuary policy.

On March 12, City Attorney Dennis Herrera sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office asking it to “issue guidance” to Northern California U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello about the sanctuary policy.

Last year, Russoniello convened a criminal grand jury to investigate whether San Francisco’s juvenile probation officers violated federal law by harboring and transporting undocumented youths after they were arrested on suspicion of felonies. Since then, The City has received three subpoenas from the U.S. attorney, according to the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department.

In November, Herrera sent a letter to Russoniello asking him for assurance that city employees would not be prosecuted, especially since San Francisco had changed its policies and workers were reporting undocumented youths to federal authorities upon being arrested. Russoniello said he would make no promises.

The response to the March letter said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has not threatened to arrest any city employees. However, it expressed concerns about San Francisco’s past practices of harboring and transporting illegal immigrant youths who had been booked on felony charges.

“A number of undocumented juveniles have regularly and illegally re-entered the United States, resumed their criminal conduct and been rearrested,” U.S. Justice Department Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison Director Portia Roberson wrote in the letter.

The City’s chief probation officer, William Siffermann, has taken the advice of attorneys and followed federal law, reporting undocumented youths upon arrest.


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Erin Sherbert

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