by Sam Hieb
At last night’s Winston-Salem City Council meeting, a group calling itself the Winston-Salem Sanctuary Coalition made an appeal for W-S to become a sanctuary city:
The council also heard complaints about a new bus system route structure that went into effect on Jan. 2. The new routes are supposed to speed travel, but people complained on Tuesday that buses don’t come as close to their houses as they used to.
Will Cox, one of the organizers of the sanctuary city effort, told council members that the city needs to make “a very clear statement, an affirmation of civil rights” following the election of Trump, who campaigned on tougher immigration enforcement.
“This is not a time of silence,” Cox said. “It is a time to stand together.”
There’s no official definition of what a sanctuary city is, but it generally refers to cities that do not cooperate with federal officials in the enforcement of immigration law.
Some speakers said that tougher enforcement could tear apart families.
“I was born in California, but I was in high school when my dad was first deported,” said Jennifer Castillo, now a city resident. She said that in the future young people like her may have to decide whether to stay in this country or go to Mexico to be where their parents are.
Anthony Ndege said the last decade has seen “unprecedented anti-immigrant sweeps that have torn apart families, friendships, relationships, and destroyed countless lives.”
And we all know who’s been in charge of the executive branch for the better part of the last decade. I have no doubt that –as council member D.D. Adams said–the majority of the council would favor sanctuary city status. But the General Assembly passed a law—which then-Gov. Pat McCrory signed—-outlawing sanctuary cities in N.C.
Of course if cities defy federal immigration law, then what should stop a city from defying state law? Mayor Allen Joines had the answer– the state could cut the money spigot if that happens.
The 2015 law could be seen as another example of the legislature taking action for cities’ own good.