John Horgan

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, in concert with its elected sheriff, has opted to refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in nearly all criminal cases involving individuals living here illegally.

It’s a sea change from the county’s posture of routine compliance only a few years ago. This decade has become a new world here. The question then becomes: Are the county’s residents, both properly documented and not, better protected now as a result of this ultra-restrictive policy?

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(10) comments


Public records obtained by the I-Team found that between 2018 and 2021 there were at least five immigrants convicted of sex crimes and another charged with pimping that were transferred from San Mateo County to ICE. There were at least 39 people transferred to ICE during these years that were convicted of serious felonies ranging from child molestation, child abuse, rape, kidnapping, grand theft, elder theft, assault, burglary, robbery, and arson.

Supervisor Canepa denied our request to discuss these data points. But we asked him before the meeting about a study published by the Dept. of Justice that examined 191 child molesters 15 to 30 years after their release from a Canadian prison. The research found child molesters with previous sexual offenses had the highest recidivism rate.

Stephanie Sierra: "Does that change your answer?"

David Canepa: "No. Look, Stephanie. That's not going to change my mind."


LInk to ABC news clip,


The ordinance is nothing but virtue signaling by a group of well-organized advocates. It will have no effect. If other Federal Law Enforcement agencies are involved, they generally cooperate and collaborate with other and will involve ICE if appropriate.


This ordinance codifies the policy set out by former Sheriff Bolanos in November 2021, so the policy is not new. What is new is that it is now a local ordinance rather than just a departmental policy.

Yes, we are joining the ranks of other sanctuary cities and counties, and I applaud it. Immigrants do not have higher crime rates than non-immigrants and in fact there is research showing their crime rate os lower.

Let's not point the finger at people who moved here for a better life and for a chance at the American dream. All of us, including the one-third of us who live in the county who moved here from another country, want to live in peace and have safety for our community.

Our justice system is set up to allow second chances; people are sentenced, do their time, and come back to the community. We need equal treatment no matter where we were born. We need to also make sure that our undocumented neighbors have access to resources to keep them safe, including jobs, rehab, and counseling.


It seems like you put zero effort into research on the topic. Numerous studies have shown that protecting immigrant community members protects the community. By passing this ordinance, SMC joins municipalities across the state and country that are committed to being welcoming place for all - one where immigrant families stay together and residents can access services without fear of discrimination or deportation.

In an ICE cooperating county victims of crimes cannot access the police when they themselves or members of their family are undocumented. It makes them easy targets for crime. And it makes all of us less safe when a segment of the community lives in fear of any cooperation or contact with law enforcement.

Terence Y

Westy, your assertions about immigrants are valid, as long as you don’t conflate legal immigrants with illegal. Immigrants can choose to stay together and they never have to fear deportation - because they’re legally in America. The ones that illegally cross the border – not so much, and rightly so… BTW, there’s no evidence there’s a decrease in reporting crimes due to status. That emotional talking point is not supported by data.


Should we deport reoffending citizens too? Or is that punishment only reserved for our immigrant community?


Not a bad idea. Australia was founded by that ilk.

Terence Y

Here we go again… jhc – please don’t conflate legal immigrants with illegal – it undermines your argument. If they’re citizens, we may “deport” them to other states, if they’ve offended there, too. Deportation is reserved for “immigrants” who illegally cross the border, making them criminals. The fact that these folks have “reoffended” in America makes it ever more important to deport them.

Terence Y

So much for informing the public… Perhaps we need more whistleblowers? Perhaps we need a few (more?) lawsuits? Perhaps we need ICE on speed dial? Perhaps we need four new supervisors? Actually, no “perhaps” there, we do need new supervisors - those who believe in law and order. Meanwhile, all you can do for your family is to ensure they’re protected by whatever means you decide is necessary. Good luck to us.

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