San Francisco taxpayers will be on the hook for $190,000 after an illegal immigrant from El Salvador sued the city over a violation of its sanctuary city law by an officer with the San Francisco Police Department.
Pedro Figueroa Zarceno filed the lawsuit after police turned him over to federal immigration authorities. Figueroa-Zarceno was called down to the police station in December of 2015 where officers told him he could recover his stolen vehicle.
Instead, Figueroa-Zarceno says that when he arrived at the station, he was placed into handcuffs and told police needed to ask him some questions. A few minutes later, he was released out a side door where he was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
Documents from federal immigration authorities released by Figueroa-Zarceno's attorneys showed a SFPD officer contacted Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and told ICE agents where they could find the El Salvadorian native.
The arrest led to a two-month detention of Figueroa-Zarceno despite a law from 1989 that prohibits city officials from enforcing immigration laws. The law is meant to encourage immigrant communities to build trust and cooperate with local police departments.
A second ordinance passed in 2013 prohibits San Francisco law enforcement from detaining people on behalf of federal immigration authorities unless they're wanted for a serious crime.
Zachary Nightingale said Figueroa-Zarceno had spend two days in jail for a DUI in 2012, but there were no criminal warrants for his client in the system, just a 2006 civil deportation order. The native from El Salvador was released on Wednesday to his fiance (who is a US citizen) and 8-year-old daughter.