San Francisco Police Policy Not to Enforce Immigration Laws

Did you know that the San Francisco Police Department has an official policy on the books since 1995 to not enforce immigration laws?

The purpose of the policy is to encourage everyone, regardless of immigration status, to report crimes and assist the police. It also complies with the City and County of San Francisco's Sanctuary Ordinance.

In 1989, San Francisco passed the "City and County of Refuge" Ordinance (also known as the Sanctuary Ordinance) which prohibits any City employee from helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with immigration investigations or arrests unless such help is required by federal or state law or a warrant. This ordinance was reaffirmed in February of 2007, when the mayor called on all departments to develop new protocols and training.

What does that mean for the police department?  It means the police can not ask you about your immigration status. They can not detain you solely based on suspected violations of immigration laws. They can not provide backup to an immigration officer unless the officer is in significant danger, such as if firearms are involved. The San Francisco Police Department can not release information, or even threaten to release information, to immigration officers except in severe felony or drug-related offenses.

Perhaps most importantly, the police can not release information about your identity or suspected immigration status to immigration for arrests or convictions relating to public demonstrations, such as a failure to disperse or obey an officer.

You can find the official SF Police Department Policy at:

You can find out more about the SF Sanctuary Ordinance at: