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.