Sanctuary City status OK’d by Arcata Council

Andrew George Butler
Mad River Union

ARCATA –  The Arcata City Council adopted an ordinance June 7 affirming the city’s status as an official Sanctuary City.

The ordinance, approved by the council on a vote of 3-1, essentially puts a name to the policies that Arcata’s law enforcement and city departments have already been operating under, according to Police Chief Tom Chapman.

The ordinance dictates that the city will not seek information regarding a person’s immigration status or citizenship for any reason, except in felonious cases.

Mayor Susan Ornelas said of the ordinance “It will allow people to engage in business with the city, without fear of being asked immigration questions. Also, it helps keep people from fearing calling the police, which helps to make our city much safer in the long run.”

Chapman told the council that the ordinance also reaffirms the department’s policy of not sharing immigration information with the federal government.

The nearly full council chamber erupted in applause after the ordinance passed.

Councilmember Michael Winkler was the only dissenting vote, citing concerns that the title of  “Sanctuary City” may provoke the federal government. Winkler, however, said he supports the policies within the ordinance.


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