Sanctuary Cities: Defending our neighbors


MERCED, CA — Merced County advocates are gearing up to face a Trump administration. On December 15, 2016, about 35 members came to a presentation at the Merced Multi-Cultural Arts Center to discuss recent immigration policies and Sanctuary Cities.

Advocates are strategically planning how local ordinances can be put in place to directly oppose any inhumane policy laid out by a Trump administration. Specifically, the Merced community members want a city-county ordinance passed stating that they support and stand with the undocumented, LGBTQ and Muslim communities.

Also, this ordinance would limit the amount of collaboration between our local law enforcement and federal authorities under any federal legislation that would target these communities.

In a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper on August 25, 2016, Donald Trump stated:

“We are going to deport many people, many, many people. We’re going to do that vigorously, we’re going to go with the laws that are existing, but we’re going to have a very strong border and we’re not going to have people pouring back in.”

According to California’s Public Policy Institute, California is home to 2.67 million undocumented individuals. California’s legislature responded to Trump’s election by passing several laws that will create state-funded programs to train defense attorneys and public defenders on the impact of criminal convictions for undocumented individuals. Other legislation will fund programs to provide undocumented individuals with legal representation during their deportation proceedings.

Although these state measures aim to provide the undocumented community with important due process, it is entirely up to communities to monitor law enforcement. For years, states like California have passed legislation aimed at protecting undocumented individuals from unlawful detention and deportation by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). Unfortunately, local law enforcement sometimes does not implement and/or adhere to the law and allows ICE to come in and out of their jails with no questions asked.

Declaring the city of Merced as well as Merced County to be sanctuary spaces for immigrants, LGBTQ and Muslim community members improves public safety. Saying that the city and/or county stands against the federal government will provide peace of mind to the 22,000 undocumented individuals who live in Merced County.

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