On Tuesday the 10th of January, after much discussion and public comment about the prospects of Yakima becoming a sanctuary city, the City Council unanimously voted to ask staff to bring back a resolution declaring the City of Yakima to be a “welcoming city.”

Without knowing exactly what the council meant by “welcoming city” social media blew up.  KIT ran a poll asking if Yakima should become a sanctuary city and 790 unique viewers responded with 88% saying NO.   A KIT facebook post was seen by about 8-thousand viewers, commented on by 50+ with a clear majority of them saying No to a sanctuary city.   KIMA TV had about 475 comments on a possible sanctuary city facebook post with an overwhelming majority of them voting NO.  Social media is just one measure but by any measure it’s NO on a possible sanctuary city!

There is no one agreed upon or legal definition of a sanctuary city but in general it’s as described in an article from The Economist, ”refers to American cities, counties or states that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation by limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Some decline to use city or state tax dollars to enforce federal immigration laws. Many prohibit local officials from asking people about their immigration status. Sanctuary policies can be mandated expressly by law or practiced unofficially.”  http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/11/economist-explains-13

To soft sell the idea of “sanctuary”, councilwoman Avina Gutierrez asked that the term be listed as “welcoming city”.  So what the heck is that?  Here’s a hint from the office of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray dated November 24, 2016, “Today, Mayor Ed Murray signed an Executive Order reaffirming Seattle as a welcoming city.  The order states that City employees will not ask about the status of residents and all City services will be available to all residents, and it creates an Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet that will coordinate City efforts to protect the civil liberties and civil rights of Seattle residents.”

Here is a link to the actual ordinance to be discussed on the 17th and there are a couple of phrases that are open to interpretation that I think need an explanation.  See for yourself   https://yakima.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/CoverSheet.aspx?ItemID=4728&MeetingID=570 .


The bottom line is that a welcoming or sanctuary city is one that selectively chooses to ignore the rule of law.  There is much more to be said and read on this complicated issue so start to get informed and then let your council representative know how you feel.

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