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Phoenix to vote on becoming a sanctuary city in mid-February

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Posted at 2:53 PM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 16:53:25-05

PHOENIX (KNXV) - A Phoenix resident used a provision of the city’s charter to trigger City Council action on whether or not Phoenix should be a sanctuary city.

Rick Robinson filed the petition at Wednesday’s meeting, with a request for the city to be declared a sanctuary and city police codes regarding immigration no longer be enforced.

“Somebody had to do it,” Robinson said of pushing for action instead of talk on the topic of a sanctuary.

An executive order signed by President Donald Trump said a city functions as a sanctuary if a city prevents information about any individual’s immigration status from being exchanged with federal authorities.

The Phoenix city charter states that any citizen may petition the City Council, and the Council must “act upon” the petition within 15 days.  A city spokesperson said the issue would be placed on the February 15 meeting agenda.  Several council members said the process for such a petition is unclear. 

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio was the first to announce that the petition was filed, and says he is strongly against Phoenix becoming a sanctuary city.

Sanctuary cities are under fire by President Donald Trump, who says they should lose federal funding for refusing to cooperate with immigration officials.
 
The term "sanctuary city" is loosely defined but means municipalities don't cooperate with the feds on immigration matters such as requests that local jails hold a suspect while authorities investigate their immigration status.
 
Proponents of sanctuary policies say they help foster a sense of trust between immigrants and their local police. Opponents say they pose a public safety threat.
 
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton released the following statement Thursday regarding sanctuary cities:
 
Yesterday, a Republican political operative submitted a petition to the City Council asking us to violate state law - a position that he himself refuses to say he supports. 
 
There are some who are angry that I'm standing up to President Trump.  But I am committed to doing what's right and keeping our city safe.  As long as I am mayor, Phoenix will not participate in the 287(g) program or enter into any other agreements with the Trump Administration that aim to implement his mass deportation plans - period.  Doing so would shatter the trust between our officers and our community, making everybody less safe. 
 
The issue of whether any Arizona city can be a so-called 'sanctuary city' is already settled by state law.  After a lengthy court battle, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld portions of S.B. 1070 that apply to all Arizona cities - including Phoenix - nearly five years ago.  Last fall, the state attorney general reached a settlement with civil rights groups, including the ACLU, on how S.B. 1070 is enforced, and Phoenix complies with those terms.  We must respect the Supreme Court's unanimous decision and the rule of law - and I will not ask Phoenix police officers to knowingly violate the law. 
 
Phoenix's police department - and our officers - are exceptional.  Over many years through community policing, they have earned the trust of the people they serve and have kept us safe, even when they have been asked to do more with less.  It is deeply disappointing that one of the union presidents suggested that Phoenix adopt the same divisive tactics once employed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Voters of conservative Maricopa County overwhelmingly rejected those tactics just a few months ago, and I will continue to reject them in Phoenix.