A discussion on sanctuary state status…

At our City Council meeting on February 28, I had asked that we bring forward a letter of opposition to California becoming a sanctuary state.  At the beginning of the meeting, I did end up pulling the item from the Agenda out of respect for my fellow councilmembers….I had not followed proper protocol in putting this item on the agenda in the first place.

The best course of action is to ask if the majority of Council agrees to hear an item, and if so, it is included in a future agenda. I did not do that…I put the item on myself and so my fellow councilmembers dealt with a backlash of opposition prior to the meeting without the opportunity of a discussion about it. I put them in a difficult position and therefore pulled the item. That said, we welcomed a robust discussion at public comment.

Last night I was incredibly proud of our community.  And while one side of this issue was in the majority, we were able to tackle a really charged and emotional topic in a respectful and constructive way, something we have not always been able to do.  Awareness was raised about this issue, opinions were shared, and a deeper level of understanding was encouraged.  It is tremendously important is that we continue to build containers to hold critical conversations and that we welcome, and participate in, diversity of thought on both sides of a conversation. Our community will be richer for that.

My intention on bringing this item forward was to build that awareness.  It certainly had NOTHING to do with being “anti-immigrant” because I don’t feel that way at all!   ALL of us were immigrants at some point and I support and value all members of our community.   It just that as I’ve been talking with people, I’ve been amazed that a great majority of folks didn’t know that California was on the bullet train to sanctuary state status.  It’s an emergency statute, it has passed its first committee hearing and is in Senate Appropriations.  The approval process could go very quickly and would be enacted immediately.

My intention for taking a hard look at SB54 was to ask the question, “Is this the BEST solution to the problems we want to solve?”  Are there other options?  Do we need to strengthen or revise the H-2A Termporary Agricultural Workers Program to provide better confidence and protection to our vital immigrant population?  Is there another safeguard we should explore? There is a significant lack of information on how sanctuary state status will affect our community and we need to be keenly aware of unintended consequences.

My overriding concern is, how do we protect American citizens AND the hardworking immigrant families that are a vital and valued part of our local and state economy, WITHOUT…

  • Overwhelming our resources
  • Taking away local control
  • Unduly tying the hands of law enforcement
  • Enabling criminal intent to flourish in our communities
  • And without jeopardizing federal funding which is about a 1/3 of our state budget.

Because the bottom line is…if we don’t have a prosperous and vibrant economy, our City, County and State can’t be a refuge, a place of safety, or the land of opportunity for ANYONE.

Also in the seat that I’m in, my lens is always “what is best for Placerville and El Dorado County”?    How do we ensure that everyone in our community is safe and secure and that our City has the resources it needs to provide essential services?  Is what we are doing now working?  Do we need the State to fix something for our local community?  I’m incredibly wary of broad-sweeping big-city policies and how they will affect us, and we usually aren’t in the position to respond to them BEFORE they become legislation.  We are usually dealing with the ramifications of those policies after they are enacted.

Let’s make sure we are not blindly rushing into a solution because we are passionate about doing something.  Let’s not get embroiled in crazy rhetoric, on either side, that does nothing but obstruct clear, rational, informed thought.  At the end of the day, this is a really complicated issue and there is a tremendous amount at stake.



Comments (16)

  1. Steven Puthuff

    I whole heartedly agree with Wendy on this issue. I was at the meeting when the Opposition was so vocal. But while hundreds of vocal liberal Democrats will come to these meetings in protest, there are thousands of thoughtful Americans who will support this type of movement to block the State from gaining a Sanctuary State status.
    Good Job, Wendy and the Placerville City Council for their courage and thoughtful approach.

  2. Carmil Surritt

    Hopefully I will not come off as judgemental as the above comment. My point is there is a predisposition to believing immigrants are a crime waiting to happen and this is not the case. No, I repeat, no immigrants are responsible for terror attack in this country.

    For the record I am not a Democrat, I am a person that sees the consequences of people fleeing to save their lives and their children’s lives from tyranny and oppression.

    A sanctuary is a place of refuge, even the religious right is familiar with that term. I have known many people that have come to this country with open hearts, hard working, compassionate and intelligent people. They graduate from college at a 30% higher rate than the rest of the population, they earn higher degrees on average than the average American and support their families with greater reverence than we do as a culture.

    Fear based bias is a distraction to the truth and in my opinion we as a Nation will never be great until we tell the truth and hold ourselves to a higher standard.

    1. Annette Schoonover

      Carmill, so well stated! I agree wholeheartedly!!!!!! Fear mongering is rampant.

      1. Nancy

        Yes, that is what they are trying to do, instill Fear. Stand strong everyone and get the facts. Stand together so we can come together.

    2. Debra Kelley

      My oncologist is an immigrant, Just saw him today, and learned he was born in Ireland, lived in London until he was 10, then in India until he came to the US at 24. I cannot imagine a kinder and more knowledgeable MD.

  3. Mary Lou Giles

    I disagree. When a government targets a group of people for “special treatment” based on factors such as ethnicity, national origin, or religion, the only ethical response is, “No”. I’m proud of the legislators who proposed SB 54, and wholeheartedly support it. No resident of our state should have to live in fear of being jailed or deported for the “crime” of leaving their home and making a long and often dangerous journey in search of a better life. I say this as a third generation Italian American whose great uncle was interned in WWII. They called him an “enemy alien”. He was a Watsonville farmer.

    1. Debra Kelley

      What a terrible thing that your great uncle — and many others in that time — were interred. Completely inexcusable then, and even more so now!

  4. Margie Lopez Read

    I get that Wendy believes she is doing the right thing for the community. The problem is that she somehow has blinders on about who is part of the community. It apparently is not the hispanic community — many of whom have been here longer than she has.

    It is also clear in the fact that she equates migrants to criminals and drugs so easily that she nurtures a bias that is damaging to some of the most gentle, hard-working, and productive members of our community. It is clear that she wants to protect the members of the community from bad things — just not those members of the community’.

    She does talk about caring for everybody, but I am saying that there can be no real compassion if she (or anyone) keeps constructing reasons to consider any group as ‘separate’. Now, creating a sanctuary where families do not need to worry about being uprooted and/or separated from other members of their family is the right way to show compassion. It is the right way to care about all members of our community. I’d like to see her come to that understanding.

  5. Keith Carmona

    Hi Wendy. You raise some good points here. My suggestion would be, given the bullet point list, to look deeper at these issues. First, are immigrants overwhelming our resources? What laws are taking away local control or unduly tying the hands of law enforcement? Is
    criminal intent flourishing in our communities? What exactly is jeopardizing federal funding, if at all? Answering these with both research and interviews with those in with specific knowledge in these areas will provide a comprehensive and nuanced approach.

  6. Kim Barney

    I think it would be necessary for information to be presented before we can have thoughtful and open communication. How do immigrants benefit our county? How are schools and hospitals impacted? How does becoming a sanctuary city impact us. Have pros and cons presented, then time for questions. Personal bias and opinion will not keep us informed.

  7. Lola Ellis

    What is best for El Dorado County is not to not be represented by someone so clearly slanted against the immigrant community that they would find it acceptable for local law enforcement to act as immigration officials, to allow neighbors to turn on each other by breeding an “othering” environment. You are toxic. Your rhetoric is toxic. You mention overwhelming local resources as to say the immigrant community does not contribute. You fear monger by listing as a bullet point allowing criminal intent to flourish. There is nothing in the creation of a sanctuary state that would call for any of your points. They are baseless and full of misplaced judgment. El Dorado County and the city of Placerville community that I love could do a lot better than you. I’m proud and grateful for those who stood up to let you know just how wrong you are.

  8. Debra

    The decision on whether California becomes a sanctuary state rests with the State legislature and will likely be decided along partisan lines. As both our Senator and Assemblyman are Republicans, I have little doubt they will vote against SB54, making the CoP opposition to SB54 immaterial to the passage of this State bill. Further, I don’t think your position as vice mayor gives you a bully pulpit to attempt to influence this or any other State issue. The effects of your decisions are local; as such, you are accountable to ALL people in the County.

  9. Jim Curtis

    It is time for all politicians at every level of government to stop using fear to turn us against each other. The facts don’t support the fear you are peddling.

  10. Helen Mansfield

    Again, I would like to re-iterate what I said at the meeting, much is being thrown about as “fact” that is not fact. No one can debate that our immigration system is broken and biased. Let’s find a way to come together and listen and dig deeper, to really get to what the facts are. And as someone who worked for the legislature, I find it humorous that any bill working its way through that system could be called “fast track.” As for making sure we have the resources to do what is needed in this community, adding immigration duties to local law enforcement would drain those resources! How about a consortium of groups gathering some of the experts in this field and having a special town hall devoted to just this subject?

  11. Annemiek Storm

    Being against Sanctuary Cities or a Sanctuary State is not about fear-based bias but about living in a lawful society. Without it there will be more and more unlawful conduct and eventually chaos. Live by and enforce laws or change the laws with due process.

  12. J.D. Mitschke

    Scared yet?
    It seems that any time that a volatile issue such as SB-54 gets debated in the public arena, there are voices that crop up and place blame upon various positions and opinions put forth, and begin to hurl the epithet ‘fear-mongering’. That being the case—I can play that game as well. I’m going to do some fear-mongering of my own.
    Let’s start with this. Suppose regarding sanctuary state status in SB-54: Suppose all those elected officials at the state and local level—upon the failure of passing sanctuary state status, now must face their voter constituency and money contributors, and explain to them why many of those programs and expenditures promised during the campaign will not happen for the reason that a portion of that $386 billion of federal funding is not forthcoming! And not only that but in your district taxes will go up and many services will be cut. And the next general election is just around the corner. Elected official—are you scared yet? Do you fear job security?
    Suppose there was absolutely no money in this “negotiation” at all, that is, suppose there was just an up and down vote and no quid pro quo. Now, lawmakers and citizens; what is your interest whether this bill passes or fails? If passed, still feel excited and humanitarian? How about this; those who support the bill—it is mandated that you take three or four of the illegal’s into your home to support them. You support open borders, don’t you? Let’s see if you can put your money where your mouth is. After all, you don’t need all of that 2500 square foot home. Is it scary for you to even to consider this outcome? Do you think you’d be able to vet them? Scared yet?
    You, citizen, who support sanctuary state status—with no federal money forthcoming—now you must pick up the monetary tab. Your taxes will go up to provide for the many services rendered to illegal entrants, and let’s not mince words; those who enter our country illegally are illegal entrants. They broke our laws! The $386 billion that comes to California; where do you think it comes from? Tax revenue and borrowed money—borrowed money which adds to our 20 trillion dollar national debt!—debt which will jeopardize the lifestyle of your children and grand children! Does this not scare you?
    Surely all should realize that passage of the bill would send a signal that California is a safe haven for criminal aliens. You may think you know who crosses our border illegally, but you don’t! Are you not scared of this? Had you rather stick your head in the sand and believe the rapes and murders happen elsewhere—nothing will happen in your back yard? I think many of you believe this! Be careful—if you really think about it, it may scare you.
    Frankly, I think if each and every one of you thought deeply about this issue farther than to the tip of your nose—it would strike fear into the heart and soul of every one of you. Scared yet? What should scare you is that the state can hardly exist without the $386 billion. That should scare you! This is an indictment against the ineptness of many elected lawmakers of the two decades. This too should scare you! I hope you are scared!


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