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Santa Fe to drop word ‘sanctuary’ from resolution

SANTA FE – A resolution Santa Fe city councilors originally intended to reaffirm the city’s status as a sanctuary city and strengthen related policies will undergo a name change.

Marcela Díaz, a member of the city’s Immigration Committee and executive director of Somos un Pueblo Unido, a Santa Fe-based non-profit group that advocates for immigrants’ rights, said on Tuesday the resolution will no longer contain the word “sanctuary.”

She said the term “sanctuary city” has no legal definition and the resolution’s councilor sponsors wanted to make the resolution as “legally defensible” as possible.

City councilors have proposed reaffirming Santa Fe’s past policies against assisting in enforcement of immigration laws in the wake of the election of Donald Trump as president, in part as a response to Trump’s support for cutting off federal funding to sanctuary cities.

One of the resolution’s sponsors, City Councilor Joseph Maestas, said in a phone interview after Tuesday’s meeting that the word “sanctuary” only appeared two or three times in the original draft. He said that and other changes to what now amounts to a substitute resolution came from input from other councilors and community groups.

“The use of the term ‘sanctuary city’ also was not used in past related policy action,” he said. “… I feel removing the term will not in any way, shape or form diminish the intent and the content of the resolution.”

The new title for the resolution is “A Resolution Reaffirming the Longstanding Status of the City of Santa Fe as a Welcoming Community for Immigrants and Refugees and Making Policy Changes to Safeguard Residents’ Sensitive Personal Information and Preserve Residents’ Human and Civil Rights.”

“We’ve also added an additional passage from the city charter that speaks to civil and human rights,” Maestas said.

The resolution is scheduled to come before the Finance Committee Feb. 13, at which a public hearing will be held. The Public Safety Committee will consider the proposal Feb. 21. The earliest it could come before the City Council is Feb. 23.