A 32-year-old is suing San Francisco, alleging that the city violated its sanctuary city ordinance by reporting him to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after reporting his car stolen in 2015.
Pedro Figueroa Zarceno, who is from El Salvador and lives in the Mission District, was in federal immigration custody for two months. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that it is prohibited in the city to use local resources to help federal law enforcement.
“With an incoming federal administration threatening mass deportations and targeting sanctuary cities, we must hold SFPD and the Sheriff’s Department accountable and ensure that every single officer is following the city’s due process protections,” Saira Hussain, an attorney representing Figueroa, told the paper.
The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, seeks an unspecified amount and calls on police to admit that he was a “victim of false imprisonment.”
A spokesman from the city reportedly said that San Francisco has “strong policies in place to encourage victims and witnesses to report crimes without fear of being deported.” The report pointed out that in February, then-Police Chief Greg Suhr acknowledged that the man should not have ended up in custody.
The report said that Figueroa reported the car stolen in November 2015.
Authorities eventually found the car, and when he filled out the paper work to pick up the car, he was arrested.
Homeland Security told the paper that police ran the background check and learned that he had a 10-year-old, outstanding warrant for deportation after failing to appear at an immigration hearing in Texas in 2005, and a 2012 conviction for drunken driving, authorities told the paper.
His attorneys told the paper that he planned to file for asylum and intended to go through the hearing process. He reportedly did not hear from authorities about the matter again. And his attorneys told the paper he had no idea there was an outstanding warrant.