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Interview: How will federal policy changes affect SF's sanctuary status?

Courtesy San Francisco Public Defender's Office / cropped and resized
Immigration attorney Francisco Ugarte.


On July 1st last year, Kate Steinle was shot and killed. An undocumented man, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, is currently on trial for her murder. The shooting spurred anti-immigrant groups nationwide, who rallied to end Sanctuary City policies – polices thatlimit how much city employees may help Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Critics say they protect undocumented people from being handed over to immigration authorities – even when they commit a crime.


San Francisco adopted these policies in 1989, designating itself a City of Refuge. Today, that status is in danger: A new policy by the federal government would force cities to cooperate with immigration authorities in such cases.

Francisco Ugarte is an immigration attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender’s office, and is defending Lopez-Sanchez. He spoke with KALW's Hana Baba about the real effect the new federal policy will have on the City.

FRANCISCO UGARTE: It's bluster. It's symbolic. It's designed to tell the public that we are doing something about Lopez-Sanchez.

To listen to the full interview, click the audio player above. 

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.