With all the talk about the President placing illegal immigrants only in Sanctuary Cities, the question around town has been— Is this legal and is the City of Encinitas a Sanctuary City?
The answer to the question about legality depends on who you ask. Both sides have valid reasons why this can or can’t be done. The logistics and legalities are not clear. Like everything else regarding this matter, it may have to be settled in the courts.
Nationally with the immigration issue at the forefront and Encinitas’ close proximity to the border, it is no wonder our residents are curious about whether we are a Sanctuary City. The Encinitas City Council was one of the first in San Diego County that supported becoming a “Welcoming City” for both legal and illegal immigrants. In making this declaration, they also encouraged other municipalities and the County of San Diego to do the same.
Here’s what it takes to become a sanctuary city: You, or someone else, starts calling your city a “sanctuary city”. That is, there’s no one policy or criteria that makes a place a sanctuary city. “Sanctuary cities” is actually a misnomer. While many Americans believe that it refers to a city that doesn’t prosecute immigrants, so-called “sanctuary cities” actually refer to something far more specific. There’s no single definition of what is a sanctuary city, but generally speaking, it’s a city (or a county, or a state) that limits its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, California has the fourth most counties and second most cities considered to have adopted laws, policies or practices that may impede some immigration enforcement efforts, which many were thereby identifying as Sanctuary Cities.
In March of 2016, the council voted to approve a resolution in support of becoming a Welcoming City for refugees, legal, and illegal immigrants. The second part of that vote was to send a letter to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to ask them to embrace the resolution’s overall goals. The goals urge local businesses and charitable organizations, to work with refugee and immigrant organizations to help provide services to families relocating to the City of Encinitas, and encourages their integration into our community.
One WHEREAS within the Resolution, is; “as the residents of Encinitas, we recognize that all people are deserving of assurances of the basic principles of equity and human rights, guaranteed to all people of by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” Most of the supporters of this Resolution were focused on supporting illegal immigrants to the United States.
At a later date, the Council also unanimously supported encouraging the federal government to work out a solution to integrate Dreamers into our society. The DREAM Act (an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) is an American legislative proposal for a multi-phase process for qualifying alien minors in the United States that would first grant conditional residency and, upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency. The entire council supported this Resolution. However, while discussing this item, the council majority refused to oppose Sanctuary Cities.
As it turns out, the best way to discover whether Encinitas is a Sanctuary City is to simply ask your council representative. Do they support Sanctuary City policies?