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Defend New Haven’s Status as a Sanctuary City

This petition had 2,249 supporters

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, undocumented immigrants across the United States face an unprecedented danger. Announcing his plan for the first 100 days of office, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to cancel one of the strongest forms of defense for undocumented immigrants in America. It is imperative that we defend the true values of the United States and oppose this unacceptable racism. 

Sanctuary cities serve as safe havens by protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation by federal agents. The sanctuary movement began in the 1980s, gaining popularity when unfair federal immigration policies began targeting and deporting immigrants arrested for minor, nonviolent crimes. By limiting the interaction between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and local law enforcement, sanctuary cities prevent thousands of people from being removed from their homes and deported each year. The policies also effectively improve community safety by encouraging communication between undocumented immigrants and local law enforcement. Providing security enables undocumented immigrants to report crime and serve as witnesses in court. Notably, sanctuary cities do not prevent ICE officials from deporting violent offenders.

In 2007, the City of New Haven made a brave, progressive decision to become one of the first sanctuary cities in the United States by issuing city ID cards. The cards helped members of the New Haven community take advantage of key government services, access financial institutions, and raise public safety concerns for the city. In January of this year, Mayor Toni Harp stated that the undocumented members of New Haven “are our neighbors,” “who contribute to our economy in many ways.” She further ensured that they will not have to worry about “feeling fear, feeling threatened, in our community.”

Now, however, sanctuary cities like New Haven face a tremendous threat. In recent years, Congress has tried to limit federal funding to these cities. While fortunately these measures have failed, President-elect Trump has reinvigorated opposition to sanctuary cities. Past proposals have sought to block sanctuary cities from receiving community development grants, which provide cities with natural disaster relief, supply housing for low-income families, and foster job creation. Under a Trump presidency, these potential measures are serious, impending threats against sanctuary cities like New Haven.

Therefore, the city of New Haven calls upon the New Haven Board of Alders and Mayor Harp to reaffirm our commitment to the undocumented members of our community. Furthermore, we urge the federal representatives of Connecticut to fiercely and unconditionally defend sanctuary cities like New Haven in every possible way. Lastly, we call upon all other Sanctuary cities to stand up and speak out. 

New Haven understands that our residents’ legal status should not determine their access to career opportunities, their ability to provide for their families, and their chance for social mobility. This understanding defines our city and distinguishes us from other pockets of the nation. And thus, if this belief is compromised, we lose our identity as a community. No one can force us to relinquish this fundamental value--not even President-elect Donald Trump.

 Respectfully submitted,

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