San Francisco Immigrant may Receive $190,000 Settlement Thanks to Sanctuary City Policy

We live in an interesting time. That is especially true for people living in San Francisco with the development of a strange story. The taxpayers of SF could soon pay close to $200,000 in damages to an immigrant who was reported to immigration authorities. Since this individual is not wanted for any crimes, it is a breach of the city’s Sanctuary City policy.

Immigrant Settlement Case Makes Headlines

San Francisco introduced a law in 2013 which prohibited law enforcement agencies from detaining people for immigration reasons. The only exception is if said person is wanted for a serious crime. In the case of Pedro Figueroa-Zarceno, there are no outstanding warrants for his arrests nor is he wanted for any serious crimes. However, he was reported to the ICE which swiftly arrestted him.

This entire story started in 2015 when Figueroa-Zarceno walked into a local San Francisco police office to pick up his stolen vehicle. According to his statement, Pedro was handcuffed and detained since the police were “asking him some questions.” These questions were never asked, and he was released shortly afterward. It appears one of the officers conducted a background check on Figueroa-Zarceno and found out he was an immigrant.

Court evidence suggests Figueroa-Zarceno was taken into custody by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement shortly after he left the police station. He was detained for two full months. His fiancee -a US citizen- and eight-year-old daughter had to wait for his release. The direct contact between the police offer and ICE is a violation of the aforementioned Sanctuary City policy.

According to a court document, Figueroa-Zarceno was labeled as a “final order fugitive.” The reason for him being labeled this remains a mystery. After all, he was the victim of a crime here not the perpetrator. Figueroa-Zarceno served two days for a DUI in 2012, but there were no outstanding warrants in the system. There was one civil deportation, but that dates back to 2005.

It appears the police officer ran his name through the system and received a hit, which was then confirmed with ICE. After the fiasco, then-Police Chief Greg Suhr already admitted Figueroa-Zarceno should never have been taken into custody after leaving the police station. This is basically the same as admitting this was all a mistake, yet it could end up costing San Francisco taxpayers dearly.

If the investigation confirms there was a violation of policies and procedures, Figueroa-Zarceno will receive a $190,000 settlement. It is possible there will be other “serious consequences” for the people involved in this particular incident, but has not been officially confirmed. A settlement would be the best possible outcome for all parties involved. This is a noble demonstration of San Francisco willing to do whatever it can to uphold their Sanctuary City policy.