ICE agents allegedly violated California law in San Francisco jails

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's Sheriff deputies are at county jails after ICE agents were allegedly allowed inside to conduct an interview with undocumented inmate, a direct violation of the city and state's sanctuary laws.

The breach happened last Thursday at two of San Francisco's jails.

"ICE agents came to our jail and unfortunately they were let in and should not have been," said San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy.

San Francisco is a sanctuary city. As such, the Department has broad restrictions against cooperating with ICE agents who want to interview undocumented inmates.

Hennessy says it was a mistake and she holds herself accountable. "I was pretty shocked to see that this happened and I was extremely disappointed," she said.

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ICE agents interviewed one inmate.

The other refused to cooperate.

Both are clients of Public Defender Jeff Adachi's office. He says ICE placed a federal detainer on the one who talked to them.

"Even if he is released from custody, ICE would have a detainer and would be able to keep him in custody," Hennessy said.

The Sheriff has launched an investigaton.

Adachi says some of his lawyers were at the jail at the time and that they called him saying ICE agents were there and that they asked a deputy for an explanation.

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"They approached one of the deputies and said 'why are you letting ICE agents in? And they were told, 'we treat ICE agents just like anyone else.'"

And that's a direct violation, Adachi says of state and city law.

Hennessy says she has issued a departmentwide bulletin reaffirming its policy on ICE.

"That briefing is being read to everybody at every shift...that's three shifts a day for seven days of the week," said Hennessy.

She says it seems to be working.

Yesterday, ICE agents returned to county jail and asked for yet another interview with an inmate. This time, they were denied.

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