Immigrant sanctuary plays role in San Francisco sheriff race

1 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Immigrant Sanctuary Policy Draws National Attention To SF Sheriff Race.

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Only two incumbent San Francisco sheriffs have lost re-election in the last 60 years — but Ross Mirkarimi is facing a tough battle Tuesday to avoid being the third. The San Francisco sheriff’s office has been in the spotlight since a Mexican national in the country illegally was accused in the fatal shooting of a San Francisco woman this summer. Mirkarimi says he has owned up to his missteps, including a misdemeanor false imprisonment conviction for grabbing his wife’s arm during a spat in 2011. Also, Mirkarimi has endured a series of personal and official embarrassments, including having his driver’s license briefly suspended and flunking a marksmanship test that prevents him from carrying a service weapon. “I’m in the redemption industry,” said Mirkarimi, 54, who launched the Green Party in California before changing his voter registration to Democrat. “I believe in second chances.” His opponent, retired sheriff’s official Vicki Hennessy, 62, is running a low-key campaign — her first — hoping to capitalize on Mirkarimi’s negative image.

The latest campaign contribution disclosures show that she has raised $286,000 to his $109,000 and won the endorsements of the unions representing the county jail’s sworn officers. Mirkarimi, who served for eight years on the city’s Board of Supervisors, has won the endorsement of the previous sheriff, who served for 32 years before retiring in 2011. Former Mayor Art Agnos also has endorsed Mirkarimi, who points to the success of the jail’s high school and the dramatic reduction of the inmate population as major accomplishments.

Mirkarimi’s interpretation of the policy came under scrutiny following the March jail release of an inmate despite a federal immigration request to detain him for possible deportation. A few months later on July 2, the Mexican national is alleged to have shot to death Kate Steinle, 32, as she walked with her father along San Francisco’s waterfront.

Mirkarimi said city law prohibits the department from cooperating with federal immigration officials unless they have a warrant, a position criticized by presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton along with U.S.

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