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Tony Hall statement on “sanctuary city” policy

Emailed to IPR:

Last week’s San Francisco Bay Guardian forum revealed that despite a diversity of opinion among San Franciscans, every single candidate at the forum agreed that not only do they support “sanctuary city” policies – every candidate agreed that they will reverse Gavin Newsom’s decision to report undocumented immigrant felons to federal authorities.

This proposed reversal in policy from the major candidates for mayor has received almost no attention, but it should.

It wasn’t long ago that San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” policy was a topic of debate and discussion. Yet despite San Franciscans being of decidedly mixed opinions on the issue, only one mayoral candidate in the field – former Supervisor Tony Hall – agrees with those who do not want San Francisco to be a “sanctuary city,” and who question the wisdom of Ed Lee’s decision to not require compliance with the Secure Communities Act.

Tony Hall’s statement on why he supports compliance with the Secure Communities Act:

“There hasn’t been much public debate on the merits of San Francisco’s ‘sanctuary city’ policy. That’s unfortunate, because the public safety implications of providing sanctuary for undocumented immigrants are at least as important for debate as whether we promote bikes on Market Street, or who wins a ping pong match between John Avalos and Ed Lee. Sanctuary city is in fact a dangerously misguided policy that may have deadly consequences for city residents, although we are all thankful that those incidents are rare.

“I believe my position is the position of a vast majority of San Franciscans I oppose ‘sanctuary city’ policies and would do whatever I could as Mayor to have our city comply with the Secure Communities Act. We can have compassion for undocumented immigrant families, while agreeing that it remains the primary responsibility of a mayor to protect the safety of city residents.

“Let me be clear that I completely reject the idea that undocumented immigrants are uniformly predisposed to commit violent crimes. Most of them are in the United States peacefully because their own countries have failed to provide economic hope and opportunity for their families. However our status as a ‘sanctuary city’ is going to disproportionately attract the few who want to avoid federal authorities for reasons far more serious than their undocumented status. We can grant each individual a due process hearing, and then we must comply with the law of the land. It is the right thing to do, and the responsible thing to do.

“Non-compliance with Secure Communities is irresponsible, but the position of mayoral candidates like to reverse the 2008 policy of referring undocumented felons is positively reckless. San Franciscans need to hear an explanation from any mayoral candidate taking this position.”

Background: The other mayoral candidates pledged to reverse the 2008 policy of referring undocumented immigrant felons to federal authorities.

At last week’s San Francisco Bay Guardian forum, each candidate in attendance agreed with the following stated policy (Avalos, Chiu, Dufty, Herrera, Ting, Rees, Yee, Adachi, Baum):

“Will you agree to opt out of the federal Secure Communities program and will you reverse Mayor Newsom’s policy [emphasis ours] and direct all local law-enforcement agencies not to cooperate with immigration authorities?”

Although they weren’t in attendance at the Guardian forum, Ed Lee has also stated that he supports ‘sanctuary ‘city policies and Michaela Alioto-Pier has also said she wouldn’t do anything that could jeopardize San Francisco’s ‘sanctuary city’ status.

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What You Might Not Know About Tony Hall

Tony Hall has 35 years experience in executive and administrative positions in nine different City of San Francisco departments, starting with his very first position in 1965, as a pension fraud investigator for the San Francisco retirement system, and then as a minorities recruiter for San Francisco’s Civil Service Commission. Afterwards starting in 1968, he served two years on Mayor Joseph Alioto’s staff as a community liaison officer, responsible for the oversight of recreation facilities in outlying neighborhoods within the city.

From 1970-1974, Tony Hall served as the Chief Administrator for the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, overseeing all operations of an office of hundreds of attorneys and administrative support staff. In March of 1974, he joined Harvey Rose serving as a budget analyst for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He then went to the Port Authority where he oversaw the transition of several thousand state Port Authority workers into city and county service during the transition of the San Francisco Port from the state to the city.

After a successful decade in the entertainment industry, in 1985 Tony Hall returned to city service and spent 15 years as the Executive Assistant to the Presiding Judge in both the San Francisco Municipal and Superior Court System, overseeing all court operations and originated the community and drug court programs. In this position, he also originated, sourced funding and oversaw the construction of the new Civic Center Courthouse.

A lifelong registered Independent, Tony Hall was elected as a District 7 Supervisor for the City and County of San Francisco in 2000 where he won bipartisan praise for leading efforts to rescue the Lake Merced habitat and rebuild Harding Park, the Laguna Honda Senior Center, the Youth Guidance Center and the Ocean Avenue Business Corridor.

In 2004 he was appointed as Executive Director of the Treasure Island Development Authority, where he increased police presence, business activities, film production and recreation facilities. He was – and remains today – a fierce advocate for an honest, realistic development plan that benefits the residents of Treasure Island and the people of San Francisco.

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