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Despite federal threats, Pasadena stops police, city employees from helping with deportations (Pasadena Star News link:) Undeterred by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ warning Monday, Pasadena’s City Council passed a policy preventing police and city employees from assisting with deportations. The city could lose more than $300,000 in Justice Department grants if Sessions follows through with a pledge to withhold funds from cities refusing to cooperate.
“Pasadena will not be blackmailed,” said Mayor Terry Tornek.
Tornek said the city would follow any federal laws and court orders, but it would not give into politics of fear.
The protections included punishment for those who don’t comply. City employees who use official resources to unnecessarily collect and share information about a person’s immigration status could face disciplinary actions under the new policy, according to City Manager Steve Mermell.
“We don’t need to know about a person’s status to sign them up for adult soccer, or to sign them up for water or electric services,” Mermell said.
By never collecting the information, the city would not violate a federal law requiring police to notify federal officials about the immigration status of individuals in local custody.
The City Council did not declare Pasadena a “sanctuary city” and the designation received little attention during the council’s deliberations. In a staff report, Mermell wrote there is no legal definition or uniformity for “sanctuary cities.”
Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said he would have liked the city to make that declaration as a sign of a resistance to President Donald Trump’s administration. However, the policies adopted, in some cases, are stronger than in other municipalities labeled “sanctuary cities.”
“I would have liked that to happen, but at the end of the day, it’s just language, it’s irrelevant when it comes down to the actual protections,” Alvarado said. “What matters is how municipalities will protect immigrants, I think the council made the right decision last night. A policy is better than language.”
Mod: Becoming a "sanctuary city" without ever using the language associated with becoming such a thing might be a unique legal strategy, but will it be enough to hold off Beauregard Sessions? Last Monday the erstwhile Attorney General took some time off from defending himself against charges that he eagerly helped enable the Russians to undermine American democracy during last fall's election to do the following.
In an announcement at the White House, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said state and local governments seeking certain law enforcement grants would have to certify that they were complying with a law that bars any official from withholding information from the Department of Homeland Security about a person’s immigration status. Those that are violating the policy could see such grants clawed back, he said.
Mr. Sessions’s appearance was an effort to threaten painful consequences for so-called sanctuary cities, those that decline to cooperate with the federal government in efforts to track and deport undocumented immigrants.
“I strongly urge our nation’s states and cities and counties to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws and to rethink these policies,” Mr. Sessions said. “Such policies make their cities and states less safe — public safety as well as national security are at stake — and put them at risk of losing federal dollars.”
Mod: No news yet if Sierra Madre will be making any kind of effort to join with Pasadena.