The city council of Columbus, Ohio, voted on Monday to make it against the law to arrest anyone based on their illegal immigration status. The city also doubled-down and made it illegal to deny someone services because they are an illegal alien. City officials deny that Columbus is a “sanctuary city.”
The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Columbus City Council voted to adopt an executive order issued by Mayor Andrew J. Ginther in early February.
After he signed the executive order, Mayor Ginther told those at a press conference, “To all of you I say, Columbus is your home.” The mayor’s executive order provided that the city will “actively support, to the greatest extent practicable, the placement or settlement in this jurisdiction of aliens eligible to be admitted to the United States as refugees.” The room was full of leaders from the city’s refugee and immigrant communities, the local NBC affiliate reported.
The mayor’s order dictates:
- It shall be policy of the City of Columbus to actively support, to the greatest extent practicable, the placement or settlement in this jurisdiction of aliens eligible to be admitted to the United States as refugees. City staff are hereby authorized and directed to cooperate to the greatest extent practicable with federal and state officials in such placement or settlement.
- No city department or employee may use city moneys, equipment, or personnel for the sole purpose of detecting or apprehending persons based on suspected immigration status, unless in response to a court order. In furtherance of this policy, no city office or employee shall request information about or otherwise investigate or assist in the investigation of a person’s immigration status unless a warrant exists, a criminal violation was reported, or an arrest was made.
- No city department or employee shall deny equal access to city services based on immigration status unless required by law or court order. Such denial of access shall include, but shall not be limited to, soliciting immigration status in any application for city services; predicating the provision of services on the immigration status of any person; or delaying the provision of services based solely on immigration status.
- It shall be the policy of the City of Columbus to vigorously oppose any effort to require the use of local taxpayer resources for the enforcement of federal immigration policy.”
Although the policy prevents the City or employees from using any city property for detecting or apprehending those illegally in the country, or “the use of local taxpayer resources for the enforcement of federal immigration policy,” city officials do not declare Columbus a “sanctuary city,” reported the Dispatch. “[T]hey don’t want the city a target for President Donald Trump, who has threatened federal funding for cities that adopt the label,” the article written Monday afternoon about the ordinance and city officials reported.
The president of the city council, Zach Klein was reported to say that “The permanence of city code transcends every mayor.”
“We decided not to focus on labels and focus more on the substance,” he added.
The ordinance will be effective after 30 days.