A Measure of Justice for Kate: San Francisco Sheriff Loses Re-election Bid Amid 'Sanctuary City' Controversy
Embattled San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi convincingly lost his bid for re-election Tuesday after spending months in the national spotlight as the face of his city's controversial "sanctuary city" policy on illegal immigration.
Mirkarimi, 54, was defeated by Vicki Hennessy, a former sheriff's official who had the endorsement of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the sheriff deputies association. With 42 percent of precincts reporting, Henessy had received 63 percent of the vote to 31 percent for Mirkarimi.
Mirkarimi and his office received heavy criticism after Mexican illegal immigrant Francisco Sanchez allegedly shot and killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle on San Francisco's waterfront July 1. Sanchez had been released from Mirkarimi's jail in March even though federal immigration officials had requested that he be detained for possible deportation.
San Francisco declared itself a sanctuary city in 1989, passing an ordinance that bans city officials from enforcing immigration laws or asking about immigration status unless required by law or court order. A follow-up ordinance in 2013 allows detention only under a court order targeting violent felons. Last month, San Francisco's board of supervisors unanimously approved a resolution to maintain the city's sanctuary status.
San Francisco and other cities and counties have routinely ignored requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officals to keep people in custody. The jurisdictions say they can't hold arrestees beyond their scheduled release dates without probable cause.