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San Francisco mayor faces backlash on immigration policy

July 3, 2008 |  9:05 am

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has his work cut out for him: As he positions himself to run for governor, he has to handle the fallout caused by the escape of eight young undocumented drug dealers from unguarded facilities in San Bernardino County.

The youths are from Honduras and were convicted in San Francisco which, as we reported yesterday, is changing its policy on deporting undocumented juvenile offenders.

"On Wednesday, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands) demanded that San Francisco officials turn over all convicted illegal immigrant drug dealers to federal authorities instead of shipping them 'out to San Bernardino County, where they can escape and victimize the neighborhoods in my district.' "

"In a strongly worded statement, Newsom said Wednesday that he has directed his administration 'to work in cooperation with the federal government on all felony cases. And I urge the district attorney, the public defender and the courts to do the same.' "

On top of that, Newsom must persuade Californians that he is more than just the mayor of a famously liberal city, the man who ushered in same-sex marriage, reports the L.A. Times' Maria L. LaGanga.

Read on...

Update, July 3, 10:50 a.m. PST: The Los Angeles Times' David Kelly is reporting that furious San Bernardino County officials will announce new measures to prevent "any future shipments" to the county of convicted juvenile offenders who are illegal immigrants.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City and Reed Johnson in Los Angeles

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