Yakima city council working on a resolution that will make all residents feel welcome

Yakima resident George Pechtel said he knows immigration laws should be followed but he also feels it’s unfair to antagonize people based on immigration status.    

"I do not understand what is driving this nationally bitterness," said Pechtel.

Yakima city council is putting together a resolution, a statement by the city that would voice support in protecting undocumented immigrants.

Meaning the city would provide services regardless of gender, race, or immigration status.

Council member Avina Gutiérrez thought of the idea.

“I want people to know that we're welcoming and we're inclusive and we don't have profiling laws or a law enforcement agency," said Avina Gutiérrez

A resolution but not law.

“The resolution is a statement of opinion philosophy by the city council it doesn't carry with it any particular authority from a legal standpoint," said city of Yakima public affairs director Randy Beehler.

Some residents who attended Tuesday night’s council meeting were not in support of the resolution.

Establishing a sanctuary city is a clear violation of that oath. Sanctuary cities are illegal and unconstitutional," said Yakima resident Dana Johnson.

While others voiced support.

All of us benefit from the agriculture in this area and that depends on immigrant population. That will take away one level of fear," said Yakima resident Mary Beckler.

City officials said that the resolution will not protect undocumented people but they will not discriminate or deny them any service.

This includes a feeling of safety when calling police, because callers won’t be asked for their immigration status.

As for Pecktel, he’s calling for a citywide vote.

"I think voting in the back door is not particularly good," said George Pecktel.

And for everyone to come together as a community.

One of the big issues at stake is federal funding and the possibility that sanctuary cities would lose that money.

But a Yakima city attorney said it would take extensive litigation and once of the main rules to federalism is you can’t impose federal government responsibilities on lo0cal police including immigration enforcement.

She even said it’s unconstitutional.

The Yakima city council will meet next Tuesday to discuss the resolutions wording.  

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