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What is a Sanctuary City and How Would Being One Affect Yakima?

Tanna Edler
Tanna Edler

There’s been a lot of talk about Tuesday night’s Yakima City Council meeting, where city leaders considered the prospect of Yakima becoming a sanctuary city. The question I kept having for myself was “What is a sanctuary city, anyway?” I had to find out and what it could mean for Yakima.

A sanctuary city is a city that has adopted a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them solely for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally.
— via Wikipedia

Basically, being a sanctuary city means if you’re not legally living in the United States and you happen to, say, witness a crime, you are free to tell the authorities without being prosecuted yourself.

If this happens, Yakima would be the second city on the eastern side of Washington state to be a sanctuary city. Sunnyside already is one, according to the center for immigration studies.

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Such a policy can be set out expressly in a law (de jure) or observed only in practice (de facto). The term applies generally to cities that do not use municipal funds or resources to enforce national immigration laws, and usually forbid police or municipal employees to inquire about a person’s immigration status. The designation has no precise legal meaning.

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