Pedro Figueroa Zarceno filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Tuesday against the city of San Francisco, the Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department for violating San Francisco’s sanctuary city law. The sanctuary city law “prohibits workers from using city resources to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law, and was designed to allow anyone to seek help from law enforcement, regardless of immigration status.” Pedro was arrested after coming to the police station to retrieve a police report that would have allowed him to obtain his car that was previously stolen and recovered by the police station. Pedro is from El Salvador and had a deportation order given in December 2005 after he failed to appear for an immigration hearing in San Antonio. When San Francisco police found the deportation order, they alerted the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Pedro then spent two months in a detention facility, during which his car was auctioned off. Pedro’s lawsuit [San Francisco Chronicle report] claims false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Sanctuary Cities [JURIST op-ed] have been a point of political debate, with President-elect Donald Trump threatening to curtail sanctuary cities. Many US mayors signed and delivered [JURIST report] a letter in December to Trump warning of the significant financial impacts of repealing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) order. US Immigration law [JURIST backgrounder] and immigrants’ rights has been hotly contested in the aftermath of DACA and Obama’s 2014 executive action [JURIST report] on immigration reform.