A two-hour town council meeting on Tuesday addressed the rumor that Chestertown was considering sanctuary status as a response to the high-profile undocumented immigration deportations continuing to sweep the nation.
The rumor was dismissed noting that sanctuary cities functioned as a protest by local law enforcement by refusing to act as an extension of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Since the Town of Chestertown does not have its own jail, any consideration of sanctuary status would have to be taken up at the county level.
Instead, the council allowed a forum for speakers to talk about the overarching undocumented immigrant deportations and what it means personally to them and to the community they represent. Kent and Queen Anne’s counties are home to over 2,000 undocumented immigrants.
As mentioned by Mayor Cerino, over three million undocumented immigrants, the majority with criminal convictions, were deported during Obama’s twp-term presidency.
This week Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly removed many of the restrictions for targeting the 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the US, the kind of messaging that inspired many to attend the packed meeting at City Hall.
The Spy notes yesterday’s LA Times report that new enforcement targets will now include:
- people in the country illegally who have been charged with crimes not yet adjudicated.
- those who have not been charged but are believed to have committed “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.” That would include the 6 million people believed to have entered without passing through an official border crossing.
- those who receive an improper welfare benefit.
- those who committed minor infractions such as driving without a license.
Due to the length of the meeting, the Spy’s Wednesday’s video of the council meeting did not include the council’s response to the issue.
Here are the highlights of responses by Councilwomen Liz Gross and Linda Kuiper, and Councilmen Sam Shoge and Marty Stetson.
The video is approximately eight minutes in length.