Public Defender Vows to Defend San Franciscans Detained in Planned ICE Raids

San Francisco—In response to threats from federal immigration enforcement officials, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi today vowed to defend undocumented San Franciscans detained in any planned raids.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reportedly planning massive sweeps in Northern California in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of the California Values Act, a law that prohibits the use of local and state tax dollars to assist in federal civil immigration enforcement, with some exceptions.

San Francisco is one of only three jurisdictions in the country that provides free immigration defense for detained immigrants through its public defender’s office. The unit, which was fully staffed in May, represents nearly 70 clients currently held in detention facilities.

“ICE’s threats are outrageous and designed to terrorize immigrant community members.  But we will not be afraid. Our highly trained staff stands ready to defend the rights of all San Franciscans regardless of immigration status,” said Adachi.

There is no evidence to support claims made by ICE officials that sanctuary policies compromise public safety, and a host of studies, including one from the Journal of Law and Economics, that found no correlation between public safety and increased deportation. There is little dispute that immigrants commit fewer crimes than citizens. And, the Center of American Progress found that sanctuary jurisdictions are actually safer than those without sanctuary policies.

ICE regularly engages in enforcement action without any judicial oversight.  Under the Bush Administration, ICE agents routinely raided homes without warrants, where they arrested people on sight, often breaking up families in the middle of the night.  ICE often acts in secret, and provides very little information to the public about their operations.

“We will resist the Trump Administration’s attempts to divide our communities.  I don’t think they have thought through exactly how hard we will fight back in court.”  Adachi said.

To report a raid in progress in San Francisco, call the SF Rapid Response Network at 415-200-1548. For legal help for a loved one held in immigration detention, call the San Francisco Public Defender’s immigration hotline at 415-553-1428.