City Council rejects petition to make Phoenix a 'sanctuary city'; debate not overPosted: Updated:
The Phoenix City Council rejected a citizen's petition to make Phoenix a sanctuary city on Wednesday but the issue far from over.
The vote was 7-2 against the petition.
Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring were the two dissenting votes. Apparently, the petition was amended to hear legal options in a "closed-door meeting" about challenges to SB 1070. DiCiccio and Waring didn't want to do that.
"The other thing I want you to understand what's occurring here. In that motion, says that we take this to executive session. Do you know what executive session is? It's a closed door meeting. You'll never know what occurs in there," DiCiccio told the crowd.
"I simply am fundamentally not going to ask our officers to violate the law, really on every stop. Because every arrest, right, is sent to ICE. So if they stop doing that, every single, all 31,951 arrests last year, they would have been violating the law," Waring said.
Following the vote, there was a chaotic scene at the city council chambers in downtown Phoenix, with some chanting, "Shame on you!"
The citizen petition asked the council to declare Phoenix a sanctuary city and stop Phoenix police officers from coordinating with ICE for immigration enforcement.
Democrat Mayor Greg Stanton made the motion to deny the request but said he stands with immigrants and against policies by President Donald Trump to deport more people.
He called the decision a matter of law.
Many speakers invoked the arrest and deportation last week of a Phoenix-area woman following a routine check-in with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Proponents of sanctuary status said the council should stop the separation of families like that of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, the mother of two U.S.-citizen children who was deported last week.
Speaker Maria Castro said her mother was an immigrant who lacks legal status and who is fearful under Trump administration policies.
"We cannot allow this to continue to happen," Castro said. "Deportations are happening every day. You are leaving orphans at home every single day."
About eight people spoke against the petition, many saying illegal immigration is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
"We must be living in the 'Twilight Zone,'" Tim Rafferty said. "This is the United States of America, we were built on laws. This isn't about being mean or being hateful. This is our immigration laws."
The vote was taken in the wake of an order by Trump requiring immigration authorities to arrest and deport more people.
Sanctuary city policies vary but essentially bar local police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
The Phoenix metro area is home to about 250,000 immigrants in the country illegally, according to a report last week from the Pew Research Center. The report is based on data from 2014.
Statement from Councilman Sal DiCiccio:
"Phoenix will never be a Sanctuary City like Chicago, San Francisco and New York. We have some of the toughest laws in the country as it relates to immigration enforcement. Phoenix is currently one of the toughest in the nation and will continue to be so.
Once again, however, we see politicians doing what they do best- protecting their own political careers.
Today we saw the Phoenix City Council do exactly that. Instead of deciding this issue once and for all, they formed a committee to consider the Sanctuary City issue and come back in 30 days with ideas and recommendations. This is what politicians do when they want to punt an issue instead of taking a stand and delivering on their promises.
Unfortunately, this move just gives the public more uncertainty and gives them the impression that Phoenix still may become a Sanctuary City, when the truth is we follow the law and are one of the toughest on this issue.
My prediction: This committee will not change the laws and we will NOT become a Sanctuary City. These same politicians may find some small nuggets to hand out, but I predict no real change will occur on the Sanctuary status of Phoenix.”
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