Cincinnati Council Approves Sanctuary City Resolution

Feb 1, 2017

Cincinnati Council has formally passed a resolution making Cincinnati a sanctuary city.  

The designation is not a legal one, but more of a promise to stand with immigrants and refugees following President Trump's announced travel ban.  

Six council members voted in favor of the resolution, with two voting no.  One council member was excused from Wednesday's meeting.

"That the mayor and the council of the city of Cincinnati hereby express a desire for Cincinnati to be a welcoming and inclusive city for all immigrants to live, work or visit by declaring the city of Cincinnati to be a sanctuary city," the resolution reads. "That the mayor and the council of the city of Cincinnati hereby request the administration to adopt policies that further the city's role as a sanctuary city."

More than 50 speakers offered comments for and against prior to the council vote.  Tom Strothers of College Hill supported the resolution.

"We do not and should not be arresting people without probable cause, or because of the clothes they wear, the color of their skin, or the language they speak," Strothers said.

Paul Ison from Union, Kentucky, told the city council about his grandfather, who came from Germany.

"There's a sign behind me that says that the United State is 'not a dumping ground,'" Ison said. "My grandfather was not dumped here. He came here on purpose to live the American dream and we're all the better for it."

Supporters say the resolution is about freedom and protecting human beings.

The speakers, and the audience in the council chamber, were about evenly divided between supporters and opponents.  

Those opponents said the city could be violating federal laws and could risk federal funding the city receives.

Gary Blakeman from College Hill questioned the motives of council members who were in favor of the resolution.

"Those who want to turn Cincinnati into a sanctuary city are driven more by politics than a real desire to benefit illegal immigrants and refugees," Blakeman said. "You are hyper-politicians who see declaring Cincinnati a sanctuary city as an opportunity to firmly state your opposition to the newly elected President."

Ina Loftspring from Hyde Park was concerned about violating federal laws.

"Those immigration laws are here to protect us," Loftspring said. "If council approves this resolution, does the continual pushback to ignore our country's laws mean that all of us law abiding citizens can pick and choose what laws we want to observe."

Mayor John Cranley said the city has not, and will not, violate federal law.  He also said there is nothing in the executive order that would threaten federal funding to the city if the sanctuary city resolution was passed.

Cranley added the measure was about standing with people who have no one else to stand with them.

The mayor, council members and others announced the resolution Monday.  The proposal followed President Trump's executive order on immigration last week.