I’m not going to claim a cause-and-effect role for my post of yesterday, “Durham’s sanctuary silliness,” but only hours after that post went up on Right Angles the sanctuary city issue became a topic of discussion among City Council members. Here’s The N&O‘s account:

Is Durham a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants?

Council member and mayoral hopeful Thomas Stith says current city policy says “yes,” although police actions say “no.”

At Stith’s suggestion, the City Council decided Thursday to review its policy on how and when police check the immigration status of people they arrest.

The newspaper, after apparently reading my Right Angles post, added this:

Durham has been saddled with the label “sanctuary city” by advocates for strict enforcement of immigration laws, such as Jon Ham of the John Locke Foundation.

The paper should have mentioned that Durham is on every list of so-called sanctuary cities one can find on the Web. Just Google “Durham” and “sanctuary city” and see what you find. Not wanting to rely on Google, I went to City Hall to see if the city had, indeed, passed such a resolution or whether it was being listed erroneously. Turns out they had taken such an action. Read the resolution of Oct. 20, 2003 and see if it can be described in any way other than giving sanctuary to illegal immigrants.

UPDATE: A reader sent me General Order 4073 of the Durham Police Department (Word document). It’s dated Nov. 18, 2003, less than a month after the City Council passed its resolution mentioned above, and is signed by Chief Steve Chalmers. Here, in part, is what Order 4073 states (emphasis theirs):

Though state and local peace officers have the authority to assist in enforcing immigration laws, it is the policy of this department that officers will respect the stated objectives and enforcement guidelines of the DHS and will not make a routine effort to direct efforts at individual violations of immigration status.

Durham Police officers will primarily focus on detecting and apprehending individuals involved in violation of criminal law regardless of the documentation status of the suspect(s).

Though Order 4073 pays lip service to federal law, as does the council resolution, the obvious intent of both is for the city and the police to ignore illegal immigration unless it simply cannot be ignored.