Many Maryland residents have likely heard about the controversy regarding so-called sanctuary cities in the past year. The immigration controversy came to a forefront last year following the death of a woman in San Francisco when she was shot while she was walking on a pier there.
A year later, a proposal is before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. It would require law enforcement officers to contact officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they detain a person for a crime of violence who has also had a prior violent crime conviction within the prior seven years. Under the law in San Francisco prior to the proposal, city employees were provided with discretion in deciding whether or not to contact ICE when they encountered people who were not in custody but who were present in the U.S. illegally.
Many law enforcement officers and others feel that requiring reporting of people who are not in custody and not charged with violent crimes to ICE could have a chilling effect on the willingness of victims of crimes to make reports. At the same time, the charged political arena has led many congressional Republicans to call for punishment for so-called sanctuary cities like San Francisco for refusing to honor federal detainers for immigration enforcement.
People who are present illegally in the country and who are the victims of crimes should be able to report what happened to them to local police without fear of reprisals from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It is unfortunate that some people are scared to do so because of the fear of possible deportation. People who are in this type of situation may want to meet with an immigration attorney in order to determine how to proceed.