Sanctuary: ‘History will record whether or not we took a stand or bowed in complicity’

Editor,

Our city leaders are in a dilemma. Should they pass an ordinance declaring Langley an inclusive city or not? What is the risk/benefit analysis?

Benefits:

1) An ordinance blocking any city involvement in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities such as reporting immigration status of Langley residents avoids the use of local dollars for a federal function, i.e. enforcement of immigration policies or procedures.

2) Immigrants and people of all religions, whether documented or not, will know that they are welcomed and protected by our local community.

3) Immigrants will know that they can call on and cooperate with any city official, including law enforcement, without fear of involving ICE. Without fear of ICE and a possible deportation, residents of inclusive communities are more likely to cooperate with criminal investigations, should they be needed.

4) Langley will continue to benefit from the active involvement of people who work in our community, regardless of their immigration and religious status.

5) Employees and government representatives of the City of Langley will have a clearly stated ordinance that outlines the expected response in case of a demand from the federal government to implement policies and procedures intended to identify, discriminate or harm individuals based on their national or religious identities. The City of Langley would clearly support them should they be challenged by federal authorities.

6) The people and government of Langley take a courageous moral stand to protect each other from the possibility of deportation due to the inefficiencies and inequities of ICE policies and procedures and due to national or religious status.

7) Passage of an ordinance would be responsive to the many Langley residents who have demonstrated their support through attendance at City Hall meetings and letters to the council.

Risks:

1) Some city voters oppose this designation, and may choose not to support the re-election of city officials.

2) There is an unspecified threat of a reduction of federal dollars in the Langley budget. However, legal scholars believe that President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold funds will not stand in the courts. See http://www.jurist.org/forum/2016/12/Hugh-Spitzer-sanctuary-cities.php.

These are troubling times in America. I am seeing the federal government intentionally labeling specific national and religious groups as “dangerous” outsiders. If German government leaders had spoken out in the 1930’s about the specious scapegoating and isolation of Jews, Romani’s, the disabled, and gays and lesbians, might the course of history have been different? Can we make a difference today? I think so! Please do act on the side of justice. History will record whether or not we took a stand or bowed in complicity.

Thank you.

JANET STAUB

Clinton

P.S. I live in Clinton, but I shop, sing, perform, attend cultural events, and am active in volunteer organizations in Langley.

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