Sanctuary City Ordinance

Sanctuary Ordinance

 

What is the Sanctuary Ordinance?

In 1989, San Francisco passed the "City and County of Refuge" Ordinance (also known as the Sanctuary Ordinance).  The Sanctuary Ordinance generally prohibits City employees from using City funds or resources to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the enforcement of Federal immigration law unless such assistance is required by federal or state law.

In 2013, San Francisco passed the “Due Process for All” Ordinance. This ordinance limits when City law enforcement officers may give ICE advance notice of a person’s release from local jail. It also prohibits cooperation with ICE detainer requests, sometimes referred to as “ICE holds.” 

These ordinances were last amended in July 2016.

[Sanctuary Ordinance: SF Admin Code Chapter 12H and 12I – English]

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does it mean that San Francisco is a Sanctuary City?

In 1989, San Francisco passed the "City and County of Refuge" Ordinance (also known as the Sanctuary Ordinance). The Sanctuary Ordinance generally prohibits City employees from using City funds or resources to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the enforcement of Federal immigration law unless such assistance is required by federal or state law.

In 2013, San Francisco passed the “Due Process for All” Ordinance. This ordinance limits when City law enforcement officers may give ICE advance notice of a person’s release from local jail. It also prohibits cooperation with ICE detainer requests, sometimes referred to as “ICE holds.” 

These ordinances were last amended in July 2016. Under current law, City employees may not use City resources to:

  1.  Assist or cooperate with any ICE investigation, detention, or arrest relating to alleged violations of the civil provisions of federal immigration law.
  2.  Ask about immigration status on any application for City benefits, services, or opportunities, except as required by federal or state statute, regulation, or court decision.
  3.  Limit City services or benefits based on immigration status, unless required by federal or state statute or regulation, public assistance criteria, or court decision.
  4.  Provide information about the release status or personal information of any individual, except in limited circumstances when law enforcement may respond to ICE requests for notification about when an individual will be released from custody.
  5.  Detain an individual on the basis of a civil immigration detainer after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody.

 

2. Why did San Francisco adopt the Sanctuary Ordinance?

The Sanctuary Ordinance promotes public trust and cooperation.  It helps keep our communities safe by making sure that all residents, regardless of immigration status, feel comfortable calling the Police and Fire Departments during emergencies and cooperating with City agencies during public safety situations.  It helps keep our communities healthy by making sure that all residents, regardless of immigration status, feel comfortable accessing City public health services and benefit programs. (Please note: Federally funded programs may have different rules, record-keeping, and reporting requirements.)

 

3. Is San Francisco the only Sanctuary City in the country?

No. In fact, San Francisco is just one of hundreds of cities across the U.S. with sanctuary policies or related law enforcement orders. California and certain other states also have related laws or policies.