Livingston becomes first Central Valley "sanctuary city"

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According to the resolution, law enforcement officers and city officials won't work with federal agencies to enforce immigration laws, and they will not partner with immigration and customs enforcement. (KFSN)

The city of Livingston became the first in the Central Valley to declare itself a "sanctuary city."

The city council made the decision on Tuesday. More than 40 percent of the residents were born in another country, according to the US Census Bureau.

City council members say residents were living in fear following threats from the White House, and this was crucial for the diverse area but others against the resolution say the term "sanctuary city" gives the residents who live there a false sense of security.

In the midst of the national debate over illegal immigration, the city of Livingston will now join the list of sanctuary cities.

"I'm happy the city is fighting against it," resident Donaciano Plascencia said. "Like I said, we have good people here."

It was a close vote, but on Tuesday the city council voted three to two on a resolution declaring the city as a "sanctuary city."

City councilman Alex Mcabe not only voted for the resolution, he helped create it. According to the resolution, law enforcement officers and city officials won't work with federal agencies to enforce immigration laws, and they will not partner with immigration and customs enforcement.

"We support our citizens, and we don't care what your immigration status is," Mcabe said.

However, Mayor Grupal Samara was against the resolution. He says Livingston Police doesn't have data on immigration, and they don't give out information.

Samara says he wanted to be an "inclusionary city," meaning they still want to help people and says the word "sanctuary" gives citizens false hope.

"My concern is that when people think "sanctuary city," people are going to think they're safe," the mayor pro tem said. "This does not make them safe in Livingston."

"Inclusionary does nothing," Mcabe argued. "It's a statement that says we love everybody. Does it do anything? No."

Despite threats from President Trump to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities, both say that's not a concern at this point.

"If this somehow does backfire, I can fight it on multiple fronts," Mcabe explained. "One, find a new source of revenue for our city to combat money lost."

Previously, the Livingston Union School District passed an ordinance to become a safe haven back in January, which meant they wouldn't release student immigration information without a court order.

This resolution takes effect immediately. However, Samara says they did agree on workshops that would educate residents on "sanctuary cities," as well as how to get legal documentation.
Related Topics:
newsmerced countysanctuary citiesimmigration reformLivingston
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