ICE Agents Visit S.F. Jail, Breaching Sanctuary Policy

Sheriff Vicki Hennessy called the interview access "a mistake."

(Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo)

The same week Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a lawsuit against California for its sanctuary city policies, San Francisco jails violated them.

Two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were given access to interview rooms at one San Francisco Sheriff’s Department jail last Thursday, Bay City News reports. One refused to speak to them while another participated in the interview.

Under sanctuary city policy, San Francisco and California law enforcement are not allowed to let ICE agents contact people in local jails. Sheriff Vicki Hennessy reiterated department policy and apologized upon learning of the incident.

“Any policy breach is a serious matter, especially as it pertains to the department’s obligation to upholding the city’s sanctuary commitment,” Hennessy says in a statement. “We made a mistake and as sheriff, I hold myself accountable.”

The individual who participated in the interview was notified of his legal rights, according to sheriff’s officials. But Public Defender Jeff Adachi, whose office represents the individual, says his client had no lawyer present and was asked to sign a document he couldn’t read with no explanation of what it was.

“It is difficult to believe that sheriff’s deputies would be untrained in San Francisco’s sanctuary policies, which are very clear and have been in place for years,” Adachi says in a statement. “But I take the sheriff’s word that this was a mistake that will never happen again.”

ICE agents tried to interview another person at the county jail on Monday but were denied access, according to sheriff’s officials.

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