City Council shoots down sanctuary city petition

Tensions ran high in the City Council chamber while the petition for Phoenix to be a sanctuary city was discussed. (Nicole Neri/DD)

Phoenix city council denied a citizen petition to make Phoenix a sanctuary city in a 7-2 vote on Wednesday.

After the conclusion of the vote, the council chambers erupted into chants of “shame on you” and “not enough” from a group of the attendees.

The motion to deny this petition was followed by over an hour of comments from the public, which was often tense and met with strong reactions from the viewing public.

The council amended the petition so that it included an executive session discussing actions that could legally be taken against Senate Bill 1070, even though the bill has already been resolved in the Supreme Court.

The committee’s opinion on examining SB 1070 was mixed, as the motion to amend the petition passed only 5-4.

Because of this amendment, council members Jim Waring and Sal DiCiccio voted against the motion to deny the petition, even though they opposed the petition itself.

DiCiccio said that Phoenix becoming a sanctuary city is “never going to happen” under the current council, and that it is an issue that needs to be resolved federally. He said that the amendment including this executive session was “bizarre” and that the issue should be strictly “yes or no”.

“This is not an issue of politics,” said Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray. “This is an issue of right or wrong and I ask you to look at your hearts … This is not a time for compliance but for courage.”

An audience member shouted in response, “What’s your social security number?”, referencing the deportation of of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, a mother who was deported Feb. 8 after using a false social security number for four years.

Attendees interrupted each other frequently, gesturing and shouting at both speakers and council members while they held the floor, with comments such as “fascist” and “arrest her.”

The issue of a sanctuary city has been hotly debated in Phoenix after the petition was submitted.

A sanctuary city is a city whose law enforcement refuses to cooperate with federal deportation officials. In response to the victory of President Donald Trump in November, several cities, including San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. reaffirmed their sanctuary status.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said that since they are enforcers of law, she cannot expect police to break it.

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