Public safety concerns in a sanctuary city

A long discussion in City Council Monday about asking someone’s immigration status led to Spokane city councilors deciding to send the signatures of the proposed initiative for verification.

That proposed initiative wants to repeal the ordinances in place that do not allow city employees, like police, to ask for someone’s immigration status.

“We have a lot of folks who are here legally and are really concerned that this action will make them targets to biased policing,” says Rick Eichstaedt, Center for Justice executive director.

Supporters of the proposal say this is more about the enforcement of laws.

“It's not about mandating that law enforcement ask the question, it's just not limiting them,” says Stephanie Cates, a supporter of the proposal.

She says what happened in San Francisco, where a woman was killed by an undocumented immigrant, was a lack of communication.

“There was a wall, effectively a wall, between local law enforcement and ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement),” she says.

But others say the proposal could prevent those who are undocumented from reporting crime.

“Witnesses of crimes who are facing the same issues are not going to call the police because they're going to worry how the police are going to treat them,” Eichstaedt says. "We want people to trust the police."

On Wednesday, the elections office will start verifying the signatures the petitioners gathered. That process will take three to four days.

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