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California lawmakers debate immigrant notification policy

Lawmakers in a major California city are considering a measure that would place strict limits on when city workers can notify immigration authorities about criminal suspects who are living in the United States illegally. The proposal would allow such notifications only when the suspect concerned has been charged with a violent crime and has been convicted of another violent crime during the past seven years. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors was scheduled to vote on the proposal on May 11, but the vote has been postponed.

The issue became a major talking point in July 2015 when a 32-year-old woman was shot and killed by a man who was facing drug charges at the time. Media coverage of the story was fierce, and there was a public outcry when it was revealed that the Mexican national had been released from a San Francisco detention facility even though federal immigration authorities had requested that he remain behind bars.

The proposal being considered in San Francisco would clarify the notification rules and reassure immigrants that they need not worry about deportation proceedings being initiated against them simply for contacting city workers. Immigration advocates cite the case of an El Salvador man who was detained for two months in 2015 after visiting police to report that his car was missing.

Experienced immigration attorneys may advocate on behalf of those facing deportation proceedings. Attorneys may dispute the charges leveled by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or apply for a cancellation of removal or an adjustment of status. Immigrants facing deportation may also be allowed to remain in the United States if they qualify for asylum or a U visa.

Source: ABC News, "Vote on San Francisco Immigrant Sanctuary Policy Postponed", Janie Har, Associated Press, May 11, 2016

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber