The University of San Francisco welcomed district nine supervisorDavid Campos for the McCarthy Center’s first Brown Bag event on February 9.
Campos’s district includes the Mission, Bernal Heights, St. Mary’s Park and Portola. Campos gave insight to modifying current city policies such as the reform of immigrant laws and the implementation of youth MUNI programs.
According to David Latterman, associate director of the McCarthy Center, Campos is “at the forefront of many immigration policies,” and as the leading supporter of the sanctuary city policy in San Francisco, Campos stressed the need for amendments to the Sanctuary Ordinance. The law, passed in 1989, prohibits city employees from arresting undocumented immigrants without warrant or law under the state or federal government.
“I think that San Francisco really represents the best this country has to offer. It’s a place that welcomes people from all over the world, from all over the country and it’s a place that not only tolerates but embraces diversity,” he said.
Under Campos’ 2009 law proposal, undocumented youth must be reported to federal immigration officials for potential deportation after being convicted of a felony, instead of when they are first arrested.
Former mayor Gavin Newsom vetoed the change, and disregarded the Board of Supervisors’ overriding ing of the veto because he said the sanctuary ordinance “protects those residents of our city who are law-abiding,” not accused criminals.
Campos, who was once an undocumented immigrant, disagrees. According to him, a balance between protecting and reporting immigrants will create a better sense of security. He said it will create a situation where undocumented individuals are not afraid to report crimes to the police.
“If people do not feel comfortable in reporting crimes to the police, that makes the entire community less safe,” said Campos.
He referred to a 2009 case in which William J. Bratton, former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, was able to solve a murder investigation because an undocumented immigrant was not afraid to come forward to describe the account.
“People felt that San Francisco was no longer a welcoming place,” Campos said about the legislation veto. He called the fear of undocumented immigrants a “scapegoat” for the nation’s failing economy.
Campos currently continues to rally for an adjustment to the sanctuary city policy. Other state jurisdictions are influenced by immigration policies in San Francisco, one of the cities at the forefront of Boycott Arizona, he said. Boycott Arizona was organized in response to the Arizona SB 1070 Act in which local Arizona governments enforced immigration laws, making it legal for officers to question individuals’ immigration status and documented proof of residency.
“San Francisco can impact what happens at a larger level…This shows how San Francisco can take lead of an issue based on virtue of who we are,” Campos said.
The supervisor’s concern extends not only to immigration policies, but to public transportation benefits for minors.
Campos discussed the Free MUNI for youth program. It would allow children between ages five and 17 to ride public transit for free.
According to the supervisor, the program would cut costs for families, especially those spread thin between food and transportation expenses. Funding provided by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the San Francisco Unified School District would allow San Francisco to join cities like Portland and New York City who have adopted similar concepts.
Free MUNI for youth would cost approximately $8 million of SFMTA’s budget. The adopted budget which was based on the estimate of expenses for 2011-2012 is about $60 million. The Board of Supervisors is currently working on the program with MTA.
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