Letter: Council agreed ‘sanctuary city’ term inappropriate

Mar 15, 2017

As one of the few observers present at the Mukilteo City Council’s discussion on sanctuary city status on Feb. 27, I have a different take on what happened to that of Beacon reporter Nicholas Johnson (“Sanctuary city issue divides council,” March 8).

First of all, I would like to say that the tone of the discussion was more intelligent and reasonable than I was expecting. Maybe I under-estimated our council members.

And, I very much appreciated the comments made by our police chief – that in order to get the greatest amount of cooperation from residents and visitors, in order to maximize everyone’s safety, it is standard operating procedure to not ask about immigration status. But, if there was a criminal investigation by a federal law enforcement agency, illegal immigration status of any of the suspects would not prevent the Mukilteo police from assisting as needed.

As far as the city council being “divided,” I think that overstates what happened. There was general agreement that the words “sanctuary city” have become loaded with an array of connotations, some not helpful – like defying the U.S. government – so that its use in any official statement was not appropriate.

There was not agreement, however, to how to move forward – do and say nothing or to make some official statement or resolution to the affect that Mukilteo was a safe and welcoming community.

Oh, yes, even though this was not officially a public meeting, I was graciously allowed to speak, which I phrased as two questions.

First, as a recent, one-week visitor to Cuba – part of a humanitarian team – I am even more convinced of the necessity of the rule of law, which in Cuba may exist on their law books but not in reality – so that even today dissidents disappear. Doesn’t adopting “sanctuary city” status have a connotation that Mukilteo is flouting the rule of law?

Second, if Mukilteo adopts the title of “sanctuary city,” including the connotation in some circles of not upholding federal law, what does that say to those of us who are immigrants and who went through the official process to gain an H1B work permit, permanent residency and, finally, citizenship?


Fenton Rees
Comments (1)
Posted by: Joe Kunzler | Mar 15, 2017 19:39

Well said Fenton, good on you to help make Mukilteo City Council blink.

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