City Councilor Jesse Lederman releases the following statement in response to the Mayoral threat of veto with regard to the Welcoming Community Trust Act, which passed first step unanimously last week.
"We can disagree politically, but we should all be working with the same facts. The facts are: there is no such thing as a ‘Sanctuary City’ in the legal sense. Courts have consistently ruled that municipalities have the legal right to determine what information they collect or do not collect with regard to immigration status, and nothing in the proposed ordinance requires an employee to neglect the law, or skirt any law.
The Welcoming Community Trust Act removes unnecessary questioning related to immigration status in the course of the day to day responsibilities of municipal employees, and similar ordinances have been passed in municipalities across the Commonwealth, including Boston. This is within the rights of the City of Springfield as a municipality.
The ordinance clearly states that municipal employees will continue to carry out any and all legal directives required by municipal, state, or federal law. However, by current law, city officials and employees are not required to inquire about immigration status in the course of their normal duties, nor are they required to honor non-criminal detainer requests from federal immigration authorities without a warrant signed by a judge.
The courts have also already protected federal funding for cities that have chosen to exercise their legal rights in this regard.
Again, there is no provision within the ordinance which requires an employee to neglect the law, or skirt any law.
Rather, this ordinance will improve community confidence in city officials’ actions because all residents can feel confident that interacting with city officials will not result in adverse consequences arising from their immigration status.
This ordinance recognizes that forcing entire populations into the dark is immoral, and moreover leads to a less safe community. Passing the Trust ordinance will help prevent disenfranchised populations from being targeted by criminal elements who count on vulnerable individuals not reporting crimes to city officials.
In addition, I am confident that the votes exist to override a veto in the event that one does occur."