Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sanctuary City Discussion Continues

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to halt federal funding to municipalities that do not cooperate with immigration officials. The mayors of cities that have already declared themselves sanctuary cities have vowed to defy Trump's order. That same evening, in its own tiny act of defiance, the Common Council Legal Committee agreed to take the next step toward making Hudson a sanctuary city.

Michael Chameides, chair of the Hudson City Democratic Committee, which initiated the proposal, stressed that the general goal was to support residents and focus police resources on making the city safe and maintaining quality of life. He maintained that immigration enforcement was a waste of resources that could be used to prevent crime. He reiterated the policy points he had outlined at the Police Committee meeting two days earlier: police officers do not ask about immigration status; if they happen to find out something, they do not report it to Immigration & Customs Enforcement; they enact enforcement only to the extent they are legally required to. "We are not saying to buck federal policies," said Chameides, "we are saying we should do only what is legally required." He acknowledged, however, that the Hudson Police Department is already practicing the policies that sanctuary city advocates are recommending.

Michael O'Hara, who chairs the Legal Committee, expressed his personal support for the recommendations and said, "The next step is for us to see what we can do to massage this into a Hudson specific document." He turned the resolution proposed by HCDC and additional comments from the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement over to Andy Howard, the new counsel to the Council, who agreed to produce a draft resolution for the committee's consideration at its next meeting.

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