San Francisco, one of the first sanctuary cities in the nation, plans to end its cooperation with federal immigration officials and start releasing illegal immigrants arrested for minor offenses before they can be picked up for deportation.
The city’s decision is the latest development in a tug of war between several communities and the federal government over its controversial national program that automatically checks the immigration status of arrestees.
Officials in jurisdictions including Providence, R.I., and Chicago have also challenged the program, which they say undermines trust that it has taken local law enforcement years to build in immigrant communities.
California and Illinois lawmakers are considering measures to let communities retreat from the so-called
“Secure Communities” program, which links up the FBI’s criminal database and the Department of Homeland Security’s records so that every time someone is arrested their immigration status is automatically, electronically checked.
Washington state has deferred to local governments on whether they want to join program overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
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