Delano community learns what it means to be a sanctuary city

September 6, 2019 /

College students, farm workers, council members and many other Delano community members gathered at a town hall in late August to learn more about what it means to be a sanctuary city.

After Delano declared itself a sanctuary city on Aug. 5, councilman Bryan Osorio put on the town hall to inform the community on what it can expect from the resolution.

“Since 2016, the federal administration has been setting threats of deportation towards California,” Osorio told the crowd that filled the Jefferson Center in Delano. “And across the states, this triggered the movement to declare counties, cities and even states — like California did last year — to become known as sanctuary. At the state level it was passed as SB-54, the California Values Act.”

Community members at the town hall shared the resolution works in their favor but were not aware of the exact details.

Delano declaring itself a sanctuary city means local law enforcement agencies will not be able to cooperate with federal agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Osorio.

However, there are exceptions, the councilman said. In some cases, ICE may have jurisdiction to come to sanctuary cities and work with local law enforcement on a case, depending on the severity of the crime.

“I do want to clarify,” said Osorio. “Delano being a Sanctuary City does not mean that ICE will be unable to enter Delano and detain individuals. It does not mean that Delano will lose federal funding… And last, it does not mean that crime will increase.”

Many community members saw the passing of the sanctuary city resolution as a victory. The community has seen ICE in their community multiple times. In 2018, a couple — two farm workers — was fleeing from ICE in their car, ultimately crashing and losing their lives. Most recently, a man was detained in the Delano courthouse.

Osorio told South Kern Sol after the courthouse incident, “Since talks of the sanctuary city resolution, people have been saying ICE is coming to retaliate against Delano because we are having conversations of making Delano a sanctuary city.”

Marco Rodriguez

Marco Rodriguez is a youth reporter from Delano for South Kern Sol.