City approves resolution affirming existing policy on not directly enforcing federal immigration laws
City declares it is welcoming to all persons, irrespective of immigration status
Continuing its current policy, City of San Luis Obispo employees will not directly enforce federal civil immigration laws, according to a resolution passed by the City Council Tuesday. But, City staff notes, that policy should not disqualify the City from receiving federal funds.
In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order denying federal funding to “sanctuary cities” – jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.
The term “sanctuary city” generally refers to local jurisdictions that in some way limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities, typically by refusing to honor detention requests from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE). Several counties in California are considered sanctuary jurisdictions, including Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento and San Francisco counties.
It is the policy of the City of San Luis Obispo to treat all persons equally, with dignity and respect, regardless of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability status.
The City resolution affirms that policy and the policy that instructs City employees, including police, to not directly enforce federal civil immigration laws and to not use city monies, resources, or personnel to investigate, question, detect, or apprehend persons solely for immigration violations, unless required by state or federal law. It also directs City residents and employees to report acts of bullying, discrimination and hate violence against suspected immigrants.
The executive order’s definition of “sanctuary city” does not prohibit such local restrictions on the use of resources to inquire into, investigate or collect immigration status information. As a result, the City’s resolution does not direct any action that conflicts in any way with the federal law on which the executive order was based.
The City receives various federal funds, including money for community development, transportation and public safety.
Police Chief Deanna Cantrell said the City policy treats all persons equally and maintains a safe community, building trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement.
“As police, our main goal is to ensure public safety,” Cantrell said. “With that in mind, we don’t ask people their status -- whether they are considered potential victims, witnesses or suspects. Of course, undocumented immigrants who commit serious and/or violent crimes should be subject to Federal immigration laws, but our local police do not have the jurisdiction or legal authority to enforce immigration law.”