WATSONVILLE — Hours after it was announced that President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order that would target cities where local leaders refuse to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation, the Watsonville City Council reaffirmed its status as a sanctuary city by passing a resolution at its meeting Tuesday night.
Watsonville originally proclaimed itself a sanctuary city, which mean a city that has adopted a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally, in 2007.
The resolution passed Tuesday night states “no city resources may be used to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law or to gather or disseminate information regarding the immigration status of individuals or any other such personal information unless such assistance is required by federal or state statue, regulation or court decision.”
In the resolution, city council also commends Watsonville Police Chief David Honda for “not involving his department with federal immigration policies and for building trust with all the communities his department serves.”
“It is the policy and practice of the Watsonville Police Department not to enforce federal immigration policies,” Honda wrote in a Jan. 9 message to the community. “We endeavor to treat everyone with dignity and respect and to provide quality service regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or immigration status.”
President Donald Trump will begin rolling out executive actions on immigration Wednesday, according to an Associated Press report, beginning with steps to build his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In addition to targeting sanctuary cities, he is also reportedly reviewing proposals that would restrict the flow of refugees to the United States.
The president is expected to sign the first actions — including the measure to jumpstart construction of the wall — Wednesday during a trip to the Department of Homeland Security, according to the AP report. Additional actions will be rolled out over the next few days, according to one official.
On Jan. 10, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution to maintain trust and safety for local immigrants, while the Santa Cruz City Council approved a similar resolution the same day.
Nearly 20 members of the public addressed the city council in support of the resolution, some of whom called for a sanctuary city ordinance written into municipal code rather than the symbolic resolution.
In a Los Angeles Times transcript of his Aug. 31 immigration speech, Trump said he intended to eliminate federal funding for sanctuary cities.
Santa Cruz and Watsonville officials have not said how much their respective cities receive in federal funding, nor taken a guess at which pots of money could be affected in a Trump policy fallout.
Sentinel reporter Jessica York contributed to this story.
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