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SF supervisor wants to revoke sanctuary protections for fentanyl dealers

Supervisor Matt Dorsey, advocate for abstinence-based addiction recovery, shows up to a press conference at Glide Memorial Church in support of the safe-consumption sites on Aug. 11, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey proposed legislation on Tuesday that would make it easier to deport immigrants who have been convicted of dealing fentanyl.

If passed, the law would allow local law enforcement officers to work with federal immigration agents in deporting people who are convicted of dealing fentanyl as well as another "serious felony."

Dorsey called the measure a "harm reduction approach" that is intended to slow the spread of the powerful opioid that took 451 lives in San Francisco last year.

"If San Francisco is to make progress on its overdose prevention strategy, supply-side interventions must be part of it," Dorsey said in a press release.

The immigration status of drug dealers became a flashpoint in last year's district attorney recall election, as former DA Chesa Boudin sought lesser charges for immigrants because they would potentially face deportation if convicted of a felony.

Dorsey's proposal follows tougher stances by current District Attorney Brooke Jenkins toward those suspected of selling fentanyl and other serious crimes. Jenkins introduced a policy in September that threatened to file murder charges against drug dealers whose supply led to a fatal overdose.

This week, Jenkins asked to bypass the city's long-standing sanctuary city rules for two Mexican nationals who allegedly fled the country to avoid standing trial in murder and child rape cases.

A coalition of organizations called the FREE SF—which includes the SF Public Defender's Office, the SF AIDS Foundation and the Interfaith Coalition on Immigration—came out against Dorsey's legislation on Tuesday saying that the law would make it harder for undocumented victims to receive help.

"San Francisco’s sanctuary policies are crucial to upholding our values of equality and inclusion," the statement from the FREE SF Coalition said.

David Sjostedt can be reached at