Hillsboro Newsroom

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

City Council Designates Hillsboro a Sanctuary City

Post Date:03/07/2017 10:58 PM

Resolution 2552The Hillsboro City Council has voted to designate Hillsboro a sanctuary city. Mayor Steve Callaway cast the deciding vote to approve the symbolic resolution during the March 7 City Council meeting.

Click here to read the enlarged text of Resolution 2552 to declare Hillsboro a sanctuary city.

The resolution reaffirms the City of Hillsboro's existing practices and reiterates the City's appreciation for the community's diversity. The Council noted that the resolution does not change how the City operates and does not afford undocumented immigrants any additional protection from federal immigration law enforcement.

The decision follows three months of considerable public discussion and public comment, as well as hundreds of emails and phone calls to City Councilors. The resolution approved by the Hillsboro City Council defines a sanctuary city as:


“A city that is committed to providing a safe community for all individuals, regardless of ethnicity or immigration status, and ensures that all members of our community are safe and can call upon public safety assistance whenever necessary, without being questioned about federal immigration laws and without fear of reprisal based solely on legal status, in accordance with Oregon State Law.”

State law does not allow law enforcement agencies in Oregon to use money, equipment or personnel to detect or apprehend people whose only violation of law is that they are citizens of a foreign country who are in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.

Prior to the vote, Hillsboro Police Department officers did not inquire about immigration status when working with community members. That policy will continue as Hillsboro Police Department officers remain committed to the safety and protection of all Hillsboro residents, regardless of immigration status.

 

The following are answers to legal questions regarding sanctuary cities:

 What is a sanctuary city?

There is not one common definition for the term “sanctuary city”. Generally, a sanctuary city has made a public declaration limiting how it will cooperate with federal immigration authorities.  However, the resolution approved by the Hillsboro City Council defines a sanctuary city as:

“A city that is committed to providing a safe community for all individuals, regardless of ethnicity or immigration status, and ensures that all members of our community are safe and can call upon public safety assistance whenever necessary, without being questioned about federal immigration laws and without fear of reprisal based solely on legal status, in accordance with Oregon State Law.”

If Oregon is a sanctuary state, then wasn’t Hillsboro already a sanctuary city?

Yes. State law does not allow law enforcement agencies in Oregon to use money, equipment or personnel to detect or apprehend people whose only violation of law is that they are citizens of a foreign country who are in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. State law made Hillsboro a sanctuary city even before Hillsboro publicly declared itself to be a sanctuary city.

Did the City of Hillsboro already operate like other sanctuary cities?

Yes. Prior to the vote and afterward, Hillsboro Police Department officers do not inquire about immigration status when working with community members. Officers are committed to the safety and protection of all Hillsboro residents, regardless of immigration status. Officers create a safe space for those without immigration status to be able to report crimes without fear

Did declaring Hillsboro a sanctuary city legally change how the City operates?

No. The resolution approved by the City Council constituted a public statement – simply the City exercising its speech rights. Because state law already applies to Hillsboro, confirming the City’s commitment to comply with that law did not legally change how the City currently operates.

Will the federal government increase immigration enforcement efforts in Hillsboro now that the City has declared itself a sanctuary city?

Unknown. It is possible that the federal government will increase immigration enforcement efforts in cities that publicly declare themselves to be sanctuary cities. It is equally possible that such actions won’t occur. The federal government will decide on its own whether and how to focus its immigration enforcement efforts in Hillsboro. Hillsboro has no control over or ability to dictate those efforts.

Does federal law prohibit sanctuary cities?

No. Federal law does not require the City to inquire about an individual’s immigration status, arrest individuals who are in the country illegally, or otherwise assist federal immigration officials in any way.

Do other federal laws require the City to assist with enforcement of federal immigration laws?

No. Local governments have no authority to enforce federal immigration laws unless they enter into agreements with the federal government. Without a voluntary agreement, a local government official has no authority to enforce federal immigration law.

Will the City lose federal funding after declaring Hillsboro to be a sanctuary city?

Possibly. The President signed an Executive Order seeking to limit federal funding to sanctuary jurisdictions which “willfully refuse to comply with 8 USC § 1373 are not eligible to receive federal grants.” Nothing in Hillsboro’s declaration or existing state law refuses to comply with 8 USC § 1373, which requires only the sharing of information regarding an individual’s immigration status.

However, the Executive Order also directs the United States Attorney General to take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that “has in effect a statute, policy or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of federal [immigration] law.” It is unclear what that language means and the extent to which simply declaring Hillsboro a sanctuary city would be considered an action to prevent or hinder the enforcement of federal immigration law.

Are there any limits on the ability of the Executive Branch to stop federal funds from coming to Hillsboro now that the City declared itself to be a sanctuary city?

Yes. The Executive Branch may only implement the laws passed by the Legislative Branch, which is Congress. As such, the Executive Branch may only limit funding in those situations where Congress has provided discretionary spending authority to the Executive Branch.

Also, courts have explained the federal government can’t use its power of the purse to coerce a state or local government into taking an action that is unrelated to the federal interests in the spending program.

As an example, funding for transportation projects likely could not be linked to a requirement related to the enforcement of immigration laws where it could be linked to a state raising its minimum drinking age due to drunken driving issues.

Return to full list >>