Pass Sanctuary City Ordinance
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Scranton should join over 200 "sanctuary cities" in the United States and pass a local ordinance to prohibit city employees from requesting or disseminating information about residents' immigration status and to not allow the use of the city's limited funds and resources to enforce federal immigration law. Scranton should uphold equal protection and treatment of all residents, regardless of immigration status.
Passing such an ordinance would foster a relationship of trust, respect, and open communication between city employees and residents that is essential to the city's public safety. Witnesses and victims of crime will not have to live in silence for fear of deportation. Data shows that this works: in a recent analysis of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime data by University of California San Diego professor Tom Wong, sanctuary counties have lower crime rates, especially concerning homicide, than non-sanctuary counties of similar size and type.
In general, the assertion that the undocumented immigrant population are mostly violent criminals is not based in reality. In a different analysis by the American Immigration Council, the FBI has reported violent crime dropped by 48% while the population of unauthorized immigrants rose from 3.5 million to 11.2 million between years 1990-2013. The great-grandchildren and grandchildren of Polish, Italian, and Irish immigrants that largely comprise the population of Scranton should remember, from their own history, these damaging lies that paint immigrant communities as dangerous, violent, and lazy.
This lie has a terrible consequence: children being separated from their parents. There are 5.5 million children with at least one undocumented parent and 4.5 million of those children are U.S. citizens. Passing such an ordinance would help keep families united. Should a mother really be taken from her child because her immigration status was discovered when she was pulled over for a busted taillight?
In the state of Pennsylvania, to be a sanctuary city, we are not only threatened by federal funding from being cut, but potentially state funding due to SB 10. This is counter to the findings from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy that reported that undocumented immigrants contribute roughly $11.8 billion in state and local taxes nationwide, and $150 million comes from undocumented immigrants in Pennsylvania.
We can unite with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, unite as a city, be brave in the face of political bullying, and stand up against the attacks on immigration to our city that only shapes and strengthens its foundation like history has proven. We can set an example for the state and the nation as we defend the U.S. Constitution as detaining people without probable cause and due process violates the fourteenth amendment. How will future generations look at us if we allow this human rights crisis to befall our city?
We, the undersigned, urge the Scranton City Council to make the decision with your conscience to pass an ordinance molded to our city's specific needs and to make Scranton a sanctuary city.
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