Arcata city council to discuss becoming sanctuary

Arcata city council to discuss becoming sanctuary

By Morgan Brizee

The City of Arcata is looking into joining other cities and potentially becoming an official sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants. The city of Arcata already has policies in place stating the city will not help or join forces with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and will not question undocumented immigrants. Arcata proclaiming itself as a sanctuary city feels to some just a label since it will not necessarily change any policies the city already has in place.

Sofia Pereira, the vice-mayor of Arcata, addressed those concerns.

“I think it is an important statement to make of one showing a solidarity with other cities that have put themselves out there to take this position,” Pereira said. “Also I think it clearly communicates to our residents, especially those that are undocumented that we value them and we are going to fight for them and that they are a valuable part of our community.” ]

Susan Ornelas is the Arcata city mayor and is worried that should President Trump’s threats become true, federal funding may be cut in the event Arcata becomes a sanctuary city.

“I’m weary of it because it is like taunting a bully and it’s like what’s the point,” Ornelas said. “Our policies are already that we don’t turn people over to immigration just for being undocumented.”

But to some people, the words sanctuary city is more than putting a label on a city, more than just some words. To some the words “Sanctuary City” are powerful and have meaning behind them.

Dave Meserve, 67-year-old former Arcata city council member from 2002-2006, is for Arcata becoming a sanctuary city and thinks that becoming one would help our immigrant residents tremendously.

“I think that it’s important to do it [make Arcata a sanctuary city] both to protect the immigrants in the city and to make a strong statement to them and to the world basically that we are a sanctuary city,” Meserve said. “We do have certain law enforcement provisions in effect that are the same ones that are shared by some sanctuary cities but I think it’s important to get the whole array of protections in place which includes not sharing information with ICE, not allowing our officers to be deputized to ICE, not allowing any city funds to be spent on federal enforcement of sanctuary laws or immigration laws.”

Arcata becoming a sanctuary city could help those undocumented feel more safe and comfortable with the city and the local law enforcement. Some undocumented immigrants feel unsafe to report crimes to law enforcement because they are undocumented. Kimberly Manriquez, 22-year-old Roosevelt Chapter President at HSU and senior political science major, said that Arcata becoming a sanctuary city could help immigrant HSU students feel more at peace.

“I think that if Arcata does become a sanctuary city that just is truly going to allow undocumented students that are currently attending HSU to not be so afraid to report an incident to whether that be UPD [University Police Department] or Arcata Police Department and that allows fear to go away,” Manriquez said. “I think there is a lot of fear when it comes to the police in general especially with what’s going on the last few years and I think it will bridge that gap of a community trusting their police department once again.”

The city council has the sanctuary city discussion on the agenda for April 5 which is not set in stone and could change. The members of the city council would have to have a majority vote of three out of the four members voting yes for Arcata being a sanctuary city. The city council is down a member and are actively trying to find a replacement. On April 5 the public will have time to talk and give their opinions to the council and public on what they think about the sanctuary city idea.

The city council has to discuss what they think is best for the city whether that be labeling it a sanctuary city and joining others or taking a step back and not.

“As well as protecting immigrants as well as making a public statement it’s really doing the right thing and standing strong for human rights which is something Arcata has been known for,” Meserve said.

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2 Comments

  1. Shak

    Legislative Information header image: click to go to the home pagehome image: click to go to the home pagehome image: click to go to the home page back button image: click to go to previous page
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    CODE SECTION
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    SEC. 3.

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    CODE TEXT
    * CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION – CONS

    ARTICLE XX MISCELLANEOUS SUBJECTS [SEC. 1 – SEC. 23] ( Article 20 adopted 1879. )

    SEC. 3.
    Members of the Legislature, and all public officers and employees, executive, legislative, and judicial, except such inferior officers and employees as may be by law exempted, shall, before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation:
    “I, ___________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.
    “And I do further swear (or affirm) that I do not advocate, nor am I a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that now advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means; that within the five years immediately preceding the taking of this oath (or affirmation) I have not been a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that advocated the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means except as follows:
    _____ (If no affiliations, write in the words “No Exceptions”) _____
    and that during such time as I hold the office of _____ (name of office) _____
    I will not advocate nor become a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means.”
    And no other oath, declaration, or test, shall be required as a qualification for any public office or employment.
    “Public officer and employee” includes every officer and employee of the State, including the University of California, every county, city, city and county, district, and authority, including any department, division, bureau, board, commission, agency, or instrumentality of any of the foregoing.
    (Sec. 3 amended Nov. 4, 1952, by Prop. 6. Res.Ch. 69, 1951.)
    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CONS&sectionNum=SEC.%203.&article=XX

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Fischer

      Let me get this straight, if I do something illegal I will be held accountable… But someone that broke the federal law and trespassed into the U.S. will not be held accountable? This is called a “double standard” and makes a mockery of fairness. Why does my government want to treat U.S. citizens worse than law-breakers?

      Hint: it is to get votes

      Reply

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