Illegal Immigrant Sues San Francisco Police For Assisting Federal Officials In His Prosecution

Seal_of_San_FranciscoThere is an interesting case out of San Francisco where an illegal immigrant from El Salvador is suing San Francisco after police turned him over to United States Immigration authorities. Pedro Figueroa Zarceno, 32, alleges that the police violated the law by helping the federal authorities in the enforcement of the law. He relies on the controversial municipal law barring municipal employees from cooperating with federal immigration authorities seeking to deport a person.

The civil lawsuit details how Figueroa reported his stolen car to police in November 2015. When the car was found and he came to collect it, he was arrested and handed over to the federal authorities. Local authorities have criticized the action. However, this case could be a foreshadowing of the conflicts ahead as the Trump Administration fulfills its pledge to crackdown on illegal immigration and various cities pledge to obstruct such efforts — or at least refuse to assist in such enforcement.

In this case, police ran a routine background check on Figueroa and found that he had an outstanding warrant for his deportation from more than 10 years earlier. He had failed to appear at an immigration hearing in San Antonio in December 2005. He also failed to appeared on a 2012 conviction for drunken driving. I remain skeptical about the claim in this case — and both the standing and merits of a claim based on an injury from the enforcement of the law.

What do you think?


Here is the complaint: Figueroa Complaint

39 thoughts on “Illegal Immigrant Sues San Francisco Police For Assisting Federal Officials In His Prosecution”

  1. Reblogged this on Bob's Opinion and commented:
    These cities are going to remain a problem, just like the others in California … Sorry but you reap what you sow … I do feel bad about the good and decent people (conservatives) who live there.

  2. This exemplifies the contempt that illegal aliens have for our laws – to wit, suing us for following federal law.

    Line cutting is unfair. Bypassing the legal immigration process does not recognize our right to say what requirements our legal immigrants must meet, the background checks for dangerous criminals, the health checks to treat diseases such as antibiotic resistant TB. They thumb their nose at all of that.

    This is also a slap in the face of all the Egyptians, Ethiopians, Latvians, Swedes, Poles, Germans, Jordanians, and everyone else who patiently waded through the bureaucratic morass to come here legally. It’s not impossible to come here the right way. People do it every single day.

    Every country in the modern world has immigration laws, and an enforced border. Otherwise, they are a region, not a country.

    It is immaterial that there are really nice, hardworking illegal aliens as well as criminal ones. I am not allowed to refuse to file taxes because I may be super nice, or speed, or vote 4 times, or show up at a university refusing to go through their application process, based on my personality or work ethic. The two are not related. The law applies equally to everyone, the kind and unkind, the generous and the miserly.

    All immigration must go through legal challenges, and THEN give us the kind, the hardworking, and the law abiding, in numbers that we can handle without overpopulating our nation or straining our resources.

    1. I agree whole heartedly. Recently discovered in conversation that most legal immigrants are hesitant to speak out is that they live in the same communities…and…then there are the “blue” whites.

      There is the principle of the seeker of justice becoming the perp. Addictive Organizations.

    1. He’s a straw plaintiff for the public interest bar. The de facto initiator of the suit is his attorney or the agency for which his attorney works.

  3. All I hear is comprehensive immigration reform I never hear comprehensive immigration enforcement. If we had that would we even be discussing something like this?

  4. Was the expectation that the police were supposed to turn a blind eye to an outstanding warrant? That’s patently ridiculous on the face of it.

    It isn’t as though they spent a whole lot of time or effort to set up a sting operation… “Hey, this guy has a warrant out. Call the guy. Oh you did? Great. Well that’s that, on to the next thing.” I’d hardly call that aiding the feds in any huge way.

  5. “In 2012 he was convicted for drunken driving”… what happened w that? Where’s the follow through?
    His auto insurance had to go way up! …wait, he probably didn’t have any. Where’s the follow through?

  6. It kind of blows my mind that a person wanted for extradition would report a car stolen and go to a police station to retrieve it once it was recovered, or that he would have voluntarily any dealings with law officials at all.

    1. Bill, The 1993 World Trade Bomber went back to the truck rental agency to get his deposit back. A wise prosecutor I worked for would often say, “Thankfully we don’t need to prove they’re smart, just that they’re guilty.”

      I have worked civil cases where illegal aliens killed and crippled people in auto accidents while driving drunk. I am a tolerant man. I think Mexicans are a positive addition to this country. I see many similarities to my Italian LEGAL immigrant grandparents. That said, one needs to look @ illegal aliens who commit crimes akin to people on probation who, knowing committing another crime will put them in prison, commit a crime anyway. Early in my life I was a probation officer. My bride was a probation officer for decades. ANY probation officer will tell you repeat offenders, while on supervision, are people you don’t want in society.

  7. We need a Gitmo in every State in the union to house the illegal aliens with criminal cases. Bread and water, no blankets, no pillows, no pillow talk from the wives. This particular dork needs to be jailed and serve time for all past offenses and dropped out of a plane without a chute over Mexico.

    The judge needs to take out the trash on this lawsuit.

  8. “No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.” “Another effect of this tragic perversion of the law is that it gives an exaggerated importance to political passions and conflicts, and to politics in general.” Frederic Bastiat

  9. One of those situations where the law defeats itself. If a girl scout turned him in and he is guilty, then he is guilty, period. There is a lot of this technical and convoluted stuff in the law. However, laws are made by the very people who design to circumvent them. There is no common sense overseer; if there were, a lot of people would be going to jail and a few would be set free; therein lies the rub.

  10. I located a federal arrest warrant form: It is more or less the same commandment as in the previous example.


    To: Any authorized law enforcement officer

    YOU ARE COMMANDED to arrest and bring before a United States magistrate judge without unnecessary delay (name of person to be arrested) who is accused of an offense or violation based on the following document filed with the court.

  11. Yeah. I’m skeptical about claims in this case too. And “El Chapo” Guzman is now in NYC. Bet he pleads not guilty. But Trump might want Mexico to pay for litigation bill. Including 3 hots & a cot.

  12. We are going to be hearing a lot more about the Supremacy of Federal Courts and Law starting at 12:01pm today

  13. While the elements of the lawsuit are interesting and novel, the underlying procedure followed by the police, such as the taking of the stolen report and the reporting party’s arrest is commonplace in the criminal justice system of the United States.

    When a person is contacted by law enforcement and the agents identify a person it is routine to either check this person against driving and wanted databases. In order to release a vehicle to a person, the procedure is almost always to check the person’s driver license status to verify this person is licensed. To not do so risks both liability for the department in allowing an unlicensed person to drive and if an accident follows, the department can be held liable. The other is technically if an officer allows another person to drive who is not permitted to, the office can be in various jurisdictions charged with a crime. In those areas there is often no knowledge element as a requirement. For those two reasons, it is almost always the case where a driver license is checked.

    The second element is when officers check a person for driver license validity, the query ran against the person’s name includes a check for wants and missing persons by default through their state’s databases as well as NCIC (Federal) In this case, and nearly all others, the wants check came along for the ride. It is certainly possible to check only the driver license status through a restricted query but this is rarely done since it is just the same code to check only one so the dispatcher might as well check everything. Also, there is no right to privacy in checking a wanted persons database if the police have authority to check a person’s identity.

    Third, when a check results in a hit, in this case the NCIC query that returned an arrest warrant. The police are bound by the court issuing the warrant to arrest the person, provided the warrant is confirmed as true, it is extraditable, and there are no extraordinary circumstances that preclude the arrest (such as an injury to the person etc.) Here is an example of the applicable language of a Warrant of Arrest:


    WHEREAS, in the Superior Court for ______ County, held at [city], Washington, the Prosecuting Attorney for [County] did present and file an Information on the part of the State of Washington charging the above-named defendant with the crime(s) of [crime], and the court finding probable cause for the issuance of a warrant herein, Now Therefore,

    IN THE NAME OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, You are commanded forthwith to apprehend and arrest [defendant] and bring said defendant before this court to answer to the said charge(s), and abide such further order as the court may make in the premises. …

    I can say that though I am not intimately familiar with California and Federal criminal procedure and do not have time to research this, that I suspect substantially it is the same case there as WA. Because the CA officers in this article must act pursuant to a court order to arrest, the prohibition made by the city directed to its officers is in direct conflict with a court order issued by the federal government. For this reason I do not believe the plaintiff in this case will prevail in his lawsuit.

    The supremacy of the federal courts will override the city’s sanctuary city ordinances and thus the officers were mandated to make an arrest.

    1. Darren:

      We have the same laws in Colorado.

      While your reasoning as stated is sound, there are other reasons for the ID checks.

      Cops love low hanging fruit and warrants for failing to pay a ticket are common – even for mostly law abiding citizens.

      Secondly, if a citizen fears a background check, he will not call the cops for a minor complaint – less work for cops and lower crime stats for the department – a double win.

      One of the problems with those laws is that ordinary citizens will reduce their interactions with police – even when the situation calls for a police report.

      These potentially adversarial situations (who wants to risk getting arrested when you are the victim of a crime?) increase the distrust of police, even by supporters of law enforcement.

      As an aside, here in Colorado, there are exceptions to having to show ID – eg I am the homeowner and we are at my house.

    2. The illegal invader is represented in part by Latham and Watkins, one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the country. The filing lists five L&W attorneys on the case. According to the L&W online directory they are from top schools: Diana Aguilar JD from Cornell; Mona Williams – HLS; Jennifer Matystik – Berkeley; Max Mazzelli – UC Hastings School of Law. It also lists an Alexandra Plutshack as an L&W employee who did not show up in the L&W directory. However, I found a Linked In profile for an Alexandra Plutshack who graduated from Michigan Law School.

      I assume they are working pro bono. Devoting so much talent pro bono suggests to me they think this is an important case. One they want to win.

  14. I was thinking that maybe we could tag and release them. As for this case, there is no ground for a case.

  15. There is a lot of barren, desolate land out west that is already owned by the federal government. It’s not really good for much besides grazing cattle and building prisons. The Donald should instruct the Bureau of Prisons to look into selling prisons in urban areas to developers and rebuilding prisons where land is cheap. The State of CA. could sell San Quentin for 10s of millions to developers who would tear it down and build million dollar condos on San Francisco Bay. The state could build a new prison for a fraction of that out in the Mohave Desert. The government talks about prison over crowding, but they could do a lot better if they made some reasonable business decisions about cost and location.

    1. TIN…from personal experience of living there (plural), build on the northern flats in either Mont., ND, or Wyo.

      There’s a reason why those areas are w/o home lights at night. And, population density is composed of antelope and deer with some bovine mixed in.

  16. Justice, One of the main problems is the Feds release illegals pending their deportation hearings and they never show. That’s what happened here. We need to build jails across this country exclusively for criminal illegals awaiting deportation. I hate taxes and new Fed employees, but I would be happy to pay for that. Trump has the support of the vast majority of US citizens and LEGAL aliens on this issue.

  17. I think that the federal government should be doing a better job of keeping tabs on illegal immigrants who have been ordered deported. An outstanding warrant for deportation that is 10 years old. It boggles the mind.

  18. The public is FED UP w/ the coddling of criminal aliens. The coddling will cease.

    1. Nick:

      I am even more hopeful than your statement suggests.

      The general public is fed up, but the pinkos and the media (am I being redundant?) continue to push the pro illegal policies of the left. That will make Americans even less tolerant of the leftist agenda.

      I hope that the left’s actions will solidify the resistance of the center to the Democratic law breaking.

  19. When the truth reads like an Onion article, you know it’s time sh!t changed! It does in a few hours.

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