Immigration ordinance — yes or no?


Maybe if the proposed Langley ordinance regarding immigration were limited to the two things the mayor has said repeatedly are already routine city practice — not asking about immigration status and not spending city funds enforcing federal immigration law — that would be an acceptable compromise to all concerned. Presumably that would be acceptable to the mayor, since if he thought current city practice was illegal he would have said so by now. Besides, we know such ordinances aren’t illegal because President Trump hasn’t threatened cities with such ordinances with legal action, which is what he would do if he thought the law was on his side. He’s threatened them with retaliation by withholding funds for unrelated projects, which is what you would do to punish someone if you didn’t like what they were doing but knew you couldn’t win in court.

So if the city is already doing those two things, why do we need an ordinance? Because someone at the city could decide tomorrow not to follow current practice and no one could say anything about it because it wasn’t an ordinance. Next week a police person could start asking everyone in town about their immigration status and reporting people to ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement]. There is nothing currently to stop a police person from doing that, which is why we need an ordinance.

I would just suggest that the ordinance not include the term sanctuary city or even inclusive city. Those terms are vague and come with a lot of baggage. Just call it something plain and descriptive like “Langley Ordinance Against Asking About Immigration Status and the Use of City Funds for Federal Immigration Enforcement.” Let’s keep it to something simple we already do and maybe that will work.