Shelter From The Storm


Taos is now officially a Sanctuary Town

Five days after taking office, President Trump signed an executive order to block federal funding to “sanctuary cities,” a random term that has been used to describe places that limit how local law enforcement cooperates with federal immigration agents.

The order (signed by the President), targets jurisdictions “that hinder communication with the Department of Homeland Security about a person’s immigration status,”  It directs the Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General to defund sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration law.

Trump also ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin issuing weekly public reports that include “a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”

In some “sanctuary cities,” officials refuse to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation and because jails are typically run by counties, rather than cities, county policies can matter more to immigrants than town policies.

The current POTUS  (and many of his fellow  Republicans) argue that sanctuary cities allow criminals to go free, leading to crimes that could have been avoided if the immigrants had been deported.

But many local law enforcement officials favor the “sanctuary city” policies, saying they do not want the job of enforcing federal immigration laws. They say they rely on immigrants in their communities to come forward to report crimes.

None of the protective policies prevent the police from pursuing immigrants who commit crimes.

 Approximately 300 U.S. jurisdictions, including cities, counties and states, have adopted sanctuary policies and on Feb 7th, more than 100 concerned locals filled the Taos County Commission Chambers, demanding that Taos County leaders take a stand in expanding the County’s role as a place of refuge and asylum for immigrants.

Although the term “sanctuary city” does not appear in the resolution, yesterday the Taos County Commission voted unanimously in favour of a County-wide policy recognizing the Civil Rights of immigrants and refugees.

The resolution  discourages mandatory agreements with the federal government to “deputize local law enforcement to require Taos County to formally aid in federal immigration raids or to illegally detain or report the status of undocumented individuals.”

Taos has long been a place of spiritual refuge for people who have come here from all over the world. It’s now a place of political refuge as well, offering shelter from the gathering storm.

All images Stock Files