Council Could Vote On Declaring Phoenix A 'Sanctuary City'

Published: Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 8:43am
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 9:06am
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Phoenix resident Rick Robinson reads a petition asking council members to declare Phoenix a 'sanctuary city' and change police orders regarding immigration enforcement.

Elected officials in Phoenix could soon vote on whether to declare Phoenix a "sanctuary city." During Wednesday’s council meeting, a resident presented a petition that requires the council to act within 15 days.

President Donald Trump’s executive order, which severely limited immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and indefinitely barred Syrian refugees, led Phoenix resident Rick Robinson to draft a petition that he read to council members. 

“Whereas the capital of the state of Arizona, it is incumbent upon the city of Phoenix to demonstrate leadership in protecting the many productive and law abiding members of our community who happen to be undocumented immigrants,” he said.

Robinson’s petition not only asks the council to declare Phoenix a sanctuary city, but to also change the way police do business when it comes to immigration enforcement.

“Provides that city of Phoenix Police Operations Order 4.48 will no longer be followed or enforced or otherwise given legal effect to the extent it requires Phoenix police personnel to assist or participate in the enforcement of federal immigration laws,” Robinson read.

The Phoenix City Charter gives the council 15 days to act upon a citizen petition. Action is not defined and could involve issuing a report, having a discussion or taking a vote.

In response to the petition, Councilman Sal DiCiccio tweeted his firm opposition to Phoenix becoming a sanctuary city, while last week Mayor Greg Stanton criticized Trump’s order and called Phoenix a welcoming and diverse city. 

Sanctuary cities are generally described as jurisdictions that limit law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents. Last Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order to withhold federal funding from such cities.

City of Phoenix provided a full statement in response to Robinson's petition:

“Following the city charter, a citizen petitioned the Phoenix City Council to have Phoenix police no longer follow their operations order on how police officers comply with state law on federal immigration enforcement and also declare Phoenix a sanctuary city. Since this request was just made, staff will need time to review the request and place it on the agenda. The Phoenix City Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15 is when the council will act upon the petition as prescribed in the city charter. The petition is available for review online."