After City Council vote, Hyattsvile becomes sanctuary city

By James Mahoney.

Hyattsville is now a “sanctuary city,” following an 8-2 vote by its City Council Monday night.

Monday’s vote was the final step in confirming a preliminary vote from the beginning of the month, which also passed by the same margin. The strategic goal of the ordinance, according to the Hyattsville City Council Agenda Item Report, is to “strengthen the city’s identity as a diverse, creative, and welcoming community.”

Hyattsville will become the first “sanctuary city” in Prince George’s County, although the idea is not new to the city. The report also mentions Hyattsville’s “longstanding history of non-engagement in immigration issues” and goes on to cite the police department’s “longstanding practice of not inquiring about a person’s immigration status.”

The ordinance, whose lead sponsor was Council Member Patrick Paschall, promotes inclusiveness within the city — specifically toward the Hispanic or Latino community that, according to the 2010 Census, accounts for just over a third of the city’s population.

The ACLU of Maryland celebrated the vote, tweeting Tuesday morning, “We applaud the City of Hyattsville for voting to protect immigrants as vital members of their community!”

This comes even after President Donald Trump signed an executive order during his first week in office which would deny federal funds from any jurisdiction that fails to comply with federal immigration laws. The ordinance will become city law on May 7.

Similar legislation has also been proposed in Maryland attempting to curb local authority’s involvement with federal immigration law. The law, which is called the “Trust Act,” passed in the House of Delegates but faces hurdles in the state Senate. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has promised to veto any such legislation.

Featured image courtesy of Elvert Xavier Barnes Photography via Flickr.

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