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Sanctuary City Supporters Fill City Council Chambers, Can Trump Deny Funds?

February 7th, 2017 · 48 Comments · City Council, News and Events

sanctuary city

“Sanctuary city” supporters filled City Council chambers Monday night.

Backers of Bridgeport as a sanctuary city raised their voices Monday night. See video here.
CT Post coverage here.
Can Trump deny funds to sanctuary cities? See here.

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48 Comments so far ↓

  • Frank Gyure

    Ganin became flustered and had a hissy fit when there was a little bit more noise at City Council meetings. He seems to be used to and expects very quiet CC meetings. Ganim said, “I’ll just gavel and shut down this CC meeting if people don’t become quiet.”

  • Dave Walker

    People need to understand designating Bridgeport as a Sanctuary City will have adverse financial and competitiveness implications. Trump has several ways to penalize such cities in ways that are clearly Constitutional. According to a January 2016 poll, 74 percent of people in progressive California oppose Sanctuary Cities. The Mayor and the City Council should not make Bridgeport a Sanctuary City. It will only serve to add gasoline to our already burning financial and competitiveness fire!

    • Jimfox

      Another Trump suck-up! Dave, grow a set of balls, just a little bigger than Ganim’s.
      Hartford, Connecticut became a sanctuary city in 2008.
      On February 3, 2017, Middletown, CT declared itself a sanctuary city. This was in direct response to President Trump’s executive order. Said Middletown’s mayor, “We don’t just take orders from the President of the United States.”

      In the United States and Canada, a sanctuary city is a municipality that has adopted a policy of protecting unauthorized immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws and by ensuring that all residents have access to city services, regardless of immigration status. Such a policy can be set out expressly in a law (de jure) or observed only in practice (de facto). The term applies generally to cities that do not use municipal funds or resources to enforce national immigration laws. The cities usually forbid their police or municipal employees to inquire about a person’s immigration status or share such information with immigration enforcement. The designation has no precise legal meaning.

      In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, the term refers to cities that are committed to welcoming refugees, asylum seekers and others who are seeking safety. Such cities are now found in 80 towns, cities and local areas in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The emphasis is on building bridges of connection and understanding, which is done through awareness raising, befriending schemes and forming cultural connections in the arts, sport, health, education, faith groups and other sectors of society. Glasgow, Sheffield and Swansea are noted Cities of Sanctuary.

      • Andrew C Fardy

        To what end does this sanctuary city help us? You people with stars in your eyes really don’t have a clue.
        You and the others crying about sanctuary cities, what do you want to tell the families of people killed by illegals who were never sent to jail until it was too late?
        Fox, where have you been the last eight years of Obama playing yes master, soon as Trump’s in office everything he says is wrong. Jim Fox grow a pair; in your case one will be enough.

    • Pete Spain

      Dave,
      Can you please provide a link to the poll you cite? I’d love to look at that pre-Trump executive order poll.

      Many legal experts seem to disagree with your certainty on the legality of the anti-sanctuary city executive order, much less if it will do anything but create more fear and chaos in over 200 U.S. municipalities that are now “sanctuary cities?” They aren’t just liberal bastions either; Cincinnati recently became a “sanctuary city.”

      What do all these cities know that Joe “Watching Out for #1, and Along the Way Stepped in #2″ Ganim doesn’t?

      Seems like we might learn from those cities, some of which have been managing this issue and thriving for years if not decades. From CNN:

      “The idea that we do not cooperate with the federal government is simply at odds with the facts,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said in a press release Wednesday. “Splitting up families and cutting funding to any city–especially Los Angeles, where 40% of the nation’s goods enter the U.S. at our port, and more than 80 million passengers traveled through our airport last year–puts the personal safety and economic health of our entire nation at risk. It is not the way forward for the United States.”

      So, then, why aren’t cities afraid of Trump’s anti-sanctuary city executive order? Could it be that the E.O. will never be implemented because it’s illegal? Seems to be what many legal experts are saying–citing, what?, Anton Scalia opinions. See from a law professor at a pretty conservative law school, George Mason University:

      “Federalism, the Constitution, and sanctuary cities” by a George Mason Law professor in the Washington Post.

      In addition, there’s recent peer-reviewed research that says that in fact sanctuary cities are more safe and more productive. See:
      www .citylab.com/crime/2017/01/sanctuary-cities-are-safer-and-more-productive/514508/

      Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, a Rhodes Scholar, Yale Law-educated lawyer, and Naval Reservist said in the last week of January 2017 that Trump’s executive order won’t change the city’s approach to policing or willingness to provide services.

      “It’s still very unclear what the Trump administration intends to do, or what the executive order signed today actually means, but nothing in our city ordinances is inconsistent with federal law,” he said in a written statement. “The city of Hartford never has and never will shield violent criminals from justice, regardless of immigration status. But we also don’t–and won’t–arrest or detain people simply on the basis of their immigration status, or ask victims or witnesses of crime about their immigration status, or deny services like our library system to anyone who lives peacefully as a member of our community.

      “To do otherwise would not only be at odds with our values as a city, but also at odds with public safety and common sense,” Bronin said. “We won’t be bullied into playing the role of an immigration enforcement agency actively targeting families who call Hartford home.” Hartford Courant 1-25-17.

      Finally, for all those professing some claim to Christianity (my family’s faith), perhaps you might reflect on Pope Francis’ words in his recent wishes to our new president on Inauguration Day:

      “At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far-sighted and united political responses, I pray that our decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide.”

      • Jennifer Buchanan

        Had to look it up myself. Here’s a link I found:
        ivn.us/2017/01/24/poll-californians-want-end-sanctuary-cities/

        • Pete Spain

          Jennifer, the link opens to an article dated Jan 24, 2017 that begins with the following statement:

          A stunning new poll is out on the “sanctuary cities” debate, and it shows a huge divide between what the people of California want from their lawmakers, and what state lawmakers are actually doing in Sacramento.

          Uh huh? Wait … “fake news,” anyone?

          When you link to the poll … turns out it was an online poll done from Aug. 11-26, 2015.

          • Jimfox

            Fake news!

          • Jennifer Buchanan

            And, it was a pol. Just because one does not like the method or results, or the time line of the reporting it becomes “fake news?” Your passion for what you believe in and support is always admirable, Pete. Keep fighting for what you believe in.

          • Pete Spain

            Jennifer,
            How the news source you led me to characterizes the poll as “new” is definitely deceptive, no?

          • Jennifer Buchanan

            Perhaps most recent poll would have been my choice of headline. Still doesn’t make it Fake News–or does it?

        • Pete Spain

          Jennifer,
          As you know, to present an old poll as “new” is misleading. I’ve never used the term “fake news” until the current administration began to use it to brand anything they disagreed with. I used it in this case half-jokingly.

          • Jennifer Buchanan

            When they go low, we go high. Perhaps moving to Colorado is the better way to live by that motto.

  • Harvey Weintraub

    I think Mario will try to wait this out for as long as he can, hoping it quietly goes away without him having to make a decision.

  • Zena Lu

    One thing we can be sure of is Trump is a petty, small, vindictive reptile. He is punitive in both thought and action. It is not beneath him (not that it is possible to go any lower) to spend his White House time ferreting out a reason to punish our city. It is this trait that gives me pause in lending my support to the Sanctuary City cause for Bridgeport.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Zena, if we put fear before our beliefs, we would have a local dictatorship. It almost happened in J1′s first go around if not for a few brave voices that prevented it.

    • Zena Lu

      Noted. I am very torn on this one.

      • Pete Spain

        Zena Lu, King George III was mad and decreed what became known as the “intolerable acts” in 1774 against the American colonies. The rest is history. A little moral courage and community coordination, anyone? T-rump might not make it in office through the end of the year.

    • John Marshall Lee

      I would argue we have a “local dictatorship” with one-party rule, non-operative checks and balances, no functioning fiscal oversight, and no published Mayoral priorities that can be measured, although accountability is claimed.

      Yes, there are elections but it has come to pass that issues are not discussed in any substance so elections look more like high school popularity contests. And voters who are relatively issue-undereducated and busy with their own life activities find little positive reason to vote in high school popularity contests.

      Taxpayers filled the chamber when bills were raised for a couple sessions, but then they got to work appealing their valuations individually because the Council representatives did not stand up for them.

      And the next item to fill chambers is for “illegal aliens” where a good number of Council members have some sympathy? And maybe there are some constituents who have seen what “agressive WPCA collection activities” are doing to homeowner values in their neighborhoods?

      City finances snuck onto the front page of the Post this morning with an article about the Grand List and growth. Of the three categories, real estate, business personal property and automobile values, where was the largest growth? How does that happen? Is there a recipe for City growth here? Has anyone consulted the latest monthly financial report (December 2016) and looked at where we stand regarding operating budget mid-year? And Ken Flatto issued the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (although it has not been posted as of 09:08 AM on his City site along with Federal and State single audits). Is there any official comment on the auditor’s look at the transition year-in-review from Finch to Ganim2? Time will tell.

  • Tom White

    On a light note, those in attendance appear to be the merry band of traveling protesters who are opposed to building a wall, oh, I mean in favor of Bridgeport (not their suburban town) claiming to be a ‘sanctuary city.’ Next stop, city council committee meeting. Which paid organizer is in charge of that protest?
    On a serious note, Joe Ganim may be a felon, but he has exceptional business instincts. Let’s hope his pragmatic approach prevails over the pandering of some city council members.

  • Steven Auerbach

    On a side note. Today is an important day. Although I am a lone supporter of charter schools on this blog, if they approve DeVos today, I will be in shock! Seriously, the woman is absolutely the worst most unqualified person for this position.

  • Maria Pereira

    Joe Ganim is seriously weighing a run for state office. If he loses, he is still in position to run for re-election as Mayor.

    The only reason Ganim is opposed to sanctuary status is he would like Trump’s support ($$$) should he seeks higher office.

    Ganim only cares about Ganim. That will always be what motivates him.

    • Robert Teixeira

      Maria, this is why Bridgeport is a depressed city including the BOE and its school system, political games at the expense of its residents, legal and non-legal. For over a year we watched the drama of BOE and its boycotting of meetings play out, and now the BOE is holding a special meeting to propose the classification of the schools for sanctuary status.

      Notwithstanding the fact BOE eliminated school officers, Federal law trumps state law, no pun intended. If Federal agents wanted to arrest and deport someone, the state can’t stop them legally.

      City politicians, State reps, including the BOE are now asking to declare the city and its schools sanctuary status. Just to defy immigration laws at the risk of losing Federal funding. Sanctuary status gives no protection again any Federal agency from deporting any illegal immigrant. While it will be hard for the Federal government to raid schools without looking like a monster, they can however withhold funds very easily.

      By Federal law, marijuana is completely illegal and cannot be sold or even used for medical purposes. Connecticut is in violation of Federal laws as I write this. So the city and state law enforcement officers are defying and overlooking Federal law without declaring it a “sanctuary weed” status, and the Federal government is not really taking action against it where the States are actively involved. It’s obvious the city, BOE and State don’t need a label to defy Federal laws, be they Federal laws regarding marijuana or immigration.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYCXqqSMOnI

      So I ask any common sense person without a political agenda. What’s the purpose of being labeled a sanctuary city if you can defy Trump’s Federal order without being label a sanctuary city? Trump’s order says he will withhold Federal funds from any labeled “sanctuary city/” It doesn’t make any law enforcement officer stop behaving in the manner in what sanctuary status will bring to the city, Sanctuary status is not needed either to achieve the protection for migrants that you seek until you fix the Nation’s immigration problem.
      www .c-span.org/video/?192506-1/president-bush-address-immigration-2006

      Having illegal immigrants pay a fine is not unreasonable for breaking the law. And asking the city law enforcement officers to break the law in order to protect someone who broke the law is beyond my comprehension.

      What I’m saying besides fixing the problem, can we not put funding at risk and still ask the city’s law enforcement agency to behave in the manner you want them to under sanctuary status without the label, so the decent human beings are protected until politicians stop playing games with their lives and pass comprehensive immigration reform?

      This is just BPT politics at its worse and every council, BOE member and state reps should be ousted in the next election for putting political games before the city and its residents by this stunt. That’s all it is, a stunt. The city’s law enforcement can do whatever sanctuary status would bring without the need for a label and the risk of losing Federal funds to the city.

      Maria, as a BOE member, I hope you would oppose sanctuary status and focus on getting more money for the schools, not put it at risk.

  • Bob Walsh

    Can you give me sanctuary, I must find a place to hide,
    A place for me to hide
    Can you find me soft asylum I can’t take it anymore
    The man is at my door

    Jim Morrison and the Doors

  • Ron Mackey

    Local police are to put those they arrest into a database that goes to The United States Department of Homeland Security and it’s up to the federal government to recognize the person who has been arrested and it’s their responsibly to check that person’s immigration status.

  • Mami Morris

    Funny how during the Make the Road Rally he stood up and said he would stand with the people and now this. I see his true colors.

  • Donald Day

    I think Dave Walker is your typical Donald Trump Republican, they deal in alternative truths and when you ask that they substantiate their positions they become angry, disappear or go silent.

    • Dave Walker

      Donald,
      You are speaking falsehoods. Trump was not my preferred candidate for the GOP nomination. In addition, I have a job based in the DC area and do not have time to monitor OIB daily or even weekly. I speak up when I have something to say and don’t have time to waste.

    • Ron Mackey

      Don, you see Walker said, “preferred” and because of his employment in D.C. that he doesn’t have the time to blog on OIB but his not preferred President, Donald Trump, finds the time to go on Twitter early in the morning talking about nothing and Trump is the most powerful leader in the world and he has time but Walker doesn’t.

  • Ron Mackey

    THE NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT
    Jan. 25, 2017 by Paul Bass

    “We are going to restore the rule of law in the United States,” Trump declared. “We are going to get the bad ones out. … We are going to get ‘em out. And we’re going to get ‘em out fast.”

    Mayor Toni Harp responded by reaffirming that the city will not rescind its orders aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants. “Throughout its history this nation has been a beacon to those who flee oppression and persecution–who seek freedom and opportunity instead; this rash act by a new President seems completely contrary to that ideal,” Harp stated in a release from her office. “New Haven, one of some 300 ‘sanctuary’ cities, counties, and states nationwide, will continue to embrace residents arriving from wherever they used to live, will work to make them feel welcome and safe, and will act to protect its ability to do so.”

    • Robert Teixeira

      Ron, this is what BPT and its reps should be protesting. Immigration reform
      www .youtube.com/watch?v=ZEWJUFOuFqk

      The city shouldn’t facilitate the exploitation of undocumented immigrants. Instead, we need pick up where Bush left off and give them real protection, legal documentation and status, not a label city that continues their illegal status. The protests should be for comprehensive immigration reform. Anything less is window dressing to keep illegal immigrants illegal.

  • Donald Day

    Mr. Walker, I appreciate your prompt response to my post. Peter Spain asked “Dave Walker, can you please provide a link to the poll you cite? I’d love to look at that pre-Trump executive order poll.” Mr. Walker, Peter asked this question not once, but twice.

    Mr. Walker it appears you won’t answer Mr. Spain, but you will answer me so let me ask you, Dave Walker, can you please provide a link to the poll you cite? I’d love to look at that pre-Trump executive order poll.

  • Ron Mackey

    The Republicans are against comprehensive immigration. “The gang of eight” has been pushing comprehensive immigration but it’s the Republican Party that will not pass a bill for comprehensive immigration.

    • Robert Teixeira

      From my understanding it was an original Republican bill that was watered down on border security, the devil’s in the details. The country can’t do immigration reform every 20 years or so to deal with a new influx of exploited immigrants. You can’t solve the immigration problem without stopping it. Can You? While each party has a more favorable outcome to their particular party they would like to see, I don’t view it as a Republican vs. Democrat issue but rather a humanity concept.

      The border and stopping the flow of illegal immigrants has always seemed to be a main sticking point, hence Trump and his wall vs Hillary’s fence. Or Between the two parties.

      Think about it this way, not only is this city saying if you are an illegal immigrant who is already here and has been here for many years, we will protect you from Trump immigration policies, but also if you want to cross our border illegally our city will protect you.

      We as a country want and need immigrants, hence Trump’s big beautiful door in Trump’s wall. We’re encouraging illegal crossing by saying we will protect you in our Sanctuary City. It doesn’t make any rational sense. And the simple common sense version for the low wages labor. What I think is much more unforeseen about immigration is the high-level skilled worker needed that this country is not producing in our education system and I don’t want to get into the economic exploitation of them both or at least the lower-wage workers and the Government Tax Base.

      Ron, this is where I separate from party lines when my morality takes part. That protest that was demonstrated at Bridgeport City Hall calling for Sanctuary Cities. That movement for sanctuary cities came into existence because of the Democratic Obama administration policies on how they dealt with illegal Immigration. 99.9% of Sanctuary Citys came under the Obama Administration. All Connecticut Sanctuary Cities and policies regarding Sanctuary Cities came into existence during the Obama Administration. Why? Can blame Trump and his rhetoric.
      www .youtube.com/watch?v=jiFdkWxaDmo

      • Ron Mackey

        It is the businesses in America which are drawing illegal immigrants to America because they need the cheap labor workers to keep their businesses running because Americans won’t perform those jobs so these American companies put out the welcome mat for immigrants to come here. The laws need to punish the businesses that are hiring illegal immigrants.

        Republicans like the fact of the low cost for labor but they also feel these immigrants will become Democrats if there is comprehensive immigration.

        • Robert Teixeira

          You’re wrong. The Democrat Party doesn’t have the Latino Vote like they have the black vote, 95% plus. E work verify has always been a contested debate. The Democrats are still fighting for minorities to vote without an ID. Here’s the irony like ID’s for voting or lack of, protesting for protection to keep illegal status by calling on cities to adopt sanctuary laws or lack of law. You know, those things businesses are breaking by hiring illegals.

          • Ron Mackey

            You have totally missed the point, those immigrants would not become Republicans and that’s the fear the Republicans have with comprehensive immigration. This has nothing to do with blacks.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      GOOD.

  • Jeff Kohut

    We can’t save the world until we get our own house in order. We have an official unemployment rate of 12.5%–feel safe in doubling that for real accuracy to at least 25%. We have an understaffed PD and a grossly underfunded, failing school system. We have paltry grand-list growth (grossly outstripped by growing budgetary demands) that consists solely of tax-negative housing and environmentally contraindicated infrastructure created for suburban convenience and prosperity at Bridgeport expense. Our poverty/near-poverty rate is about 60%-70%.

    For us to pretend we can officially open our doors and accommodate an unlimited stream of need is really delusional and potentially destructive. To think in terms of officially presenting ourselves as a capable host to desperate people in great need when we are already a city of that description is an invitation for disaster–especially being a failing city in a failing state in a country threatened by terrorism and political and economic chaos. (Don’t let the “robust” stock market numbers and manipulated/distorted employment numbers fool you–things were looking good in 2000 and 2008 until. And we are still a house-of-cards, credit-based economy, as we have been, increasingly, for 50 years.)

    That being said; I do believe our unofficial policy should be to not cooperate with efforts to harass or deport benign, undocumented people with no criminal history or suspected criminal activity. Let those people live in Bridgeport in peace, unofficially.

    To those who want us to become a sanctuary city: open your homes to benign, undocumented refugees: Seek them out, befriend them, support them, protect them at your discretion with the unofficial city sanction of non-harassment, non-cooperation with federal efforts directed toward undocumented persons with no criminal history or suspected criminal activity. (Individuals and groups are already doing this.) Otherwise; those of us concerned with refugees seeking to come here legally can offer official, legal sponsorship.

    Perhaps, when Bridgeport again becomes viable, we can realistically consider becoming an official “sanctuary city;” but right now, such a move would be foolhardy, if not disingenuous.

    All that being said: If the federal government takes on Nazi/fascist-like dimensions toward refugees who present no threat to the US, conscience indicates good Americans will do what is necessary to counter those efforts.

  • Pete Spain

    Okay Jeff,
    So carry on as is, no “Sanctuary City” because you don’t think we’re ready. But you advise, if/ when we think we see “Nazi/fascist-like” assault on non-Aryans (you, me, the great majority of our city), then we must be ready to roll out the lifeboats?
    What? Might that have already happened for some who work three or more jobs and never sign in to OIB?

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I have read every post on this subject and find a bunch of hand-wringing liberal crybabies. You lost, move on and the illegals are going, TFB.

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