San Francisco to Pay Illegal Immigrant $190K After Police Violated City’s Sanctuary City Policy

An immigration detainee stands near an US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) grievance box in the high security unit at the Theo Lacy Facility
An immigration detainee stands near a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) grievance box in the high security unit at the Theo Lacy Facility / Getty Images
• June 30, 2017 8:46 am


San Francisco taxpayers could soon pay $190,000 in a lawsuit settlement with an illegal immigrant who claimed he was reported to federal immigration authorities in violation of the city's sanctuary city ordinance.

The settlement is expected to be confirmed by San Francisco supervisors in future hearings, according to San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX.

Pedro Figueroa-Zarceno walked into a police station on December 2, 2015, to recover his stolen car. When he left the station, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement immediately took him into custody.

Figueroa-Zarceno said through an interpreter that once he was at the station, he was detained, handcuffed, and told that police needed to ask him questions. Instead, after a few minutes he was released through a side door where an ICE agent was waiting outside to detain him.

Figueroa-Zarceno sued the city on January 17 for violating its sanctuary city laws when officers cooperated with immigration officials.

John Coté, a spokesman for the Office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, said that if San Francisco violated its sanctuary city policy, it would be violating illegal immigrants' trust.

"San Francisco has strong policies in place to encourage victims and witnesses to report crimes without fear of being deported, which include our sanctuary ordinance," he said. "These policies are designed to foster respect and trust between law enforcement and residents to ensure our communities are safe. The city, including the Police Department, remain committed to them."

"This proposed settlement is a fair resolution for all of the parties involved," Coté continued.

San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos said the incident was an illustration of how collaboration with immigration authorities can erode the trust between the community and local law enforcement.

Published under: ICE, Illegal Immigration