March 24, 2017

FAQ: Sanctuary City

What is your stance on Evanston’s status as a Sanctuary City?

I feel strongly that we need to remain a welcoming City to everyone, no matter their race, gender, sexuality, religion, or any other aspect of one’s identity. This is even more important today after the recent election and the increase in hate crimes that I think is directly attributable to the divisive, cruel, and unkind language the current administration in Washington uses. How some cannot see the benefits of a diverse community, and I mean that in a broad way, is hard for me to understand.

I will take a stand against bigotry and hatred towards anyone in our community. Not too long ago it was directed towards Muslims with the defacement of the Quran at the library. I attended and spoke at that rally and my remarks, expressed in this Daily Northwestern article and my Facebook post, capture how I feel. As I said at another recent protest by ETHS students and Northwestern Muslim students, we cannot normalize hate or division. We must normalize empathy, compassion, and kindness.

To my knowledge, HUD and transportation, which come through the state, could be affected. However, I understand there are supreme court decisions that restrict the federal government from tying two unrelated federal requirements together. I’m afraid, similar to this administration’s executive order with refugees, that the courts will ultimately need to weigh in on the legality of the Feds limiting aid for housing, transportation, etc. based on a localities unwillingness to possibly hand over documented or undocumented immigrants to the INS based on minor infractions (My understanding is that in cases where there is a warrant for someone’s arrest or a felony conviction, the INS is notified).

I will fight this administration’s threats to reduce our federal funding in several ways. One, we should try to establish a compact between welcoming cities. The good news is we are not alone in our stance. I think we should look to have all welcoming (sanctuary) cities form a compact to stick together. We are, as Hillary Clinton said, stronger together. Second, I would work hard with our state and federal legislators to push back on any position taken by the Trump administration to reduce our aid. We may have lost the Presidential election (90% of Evanstonians voted for Hillary Clinton), however, collectively we pay tens of millions in federal income tax, and we deserve our fair share. To punish communities for standing up for the rights of immigrants, most of whom are tax paying, productive members of our community, is to deny them the dignity with which they should be treated. Third, I would analyze our budget to determine if there are areas where we can obtain cost savings to make up for any lost federal funds, should the Trump administration be successful in denying us our fair share.