EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – More than 200 Easthampton residents say they don’t want Easthampton to become a “sanctuary city.” The city council has received petitions and emails from residents who are afraid the change would go against federal regulations.
If approved, Easthampton wouldn’t turn immigrants over to the federal government unless they’re involved in criminal activity. The council’s ordinance subcommittee will hold a public forum Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building at 50 Payson to explain this more clearly.
Just this week, the city council received an additional 84 signatures from residents who oppose this idea of making Easthampton a sanctuary city, now bringing it to a total of 224 signatures.
City councilor Peg Conniff says, “The number one reason that I’ve ascertained is that they don’t want us to violate federal law, and not turn in – if you will – undocumented immigrants.” Conniff told 22News a majority of residents want a sanctuary city; but because the ordinance hasn’t been written, people might be confused on what they’re even supporting.
“I want everyone in town to understand what it means if we go down that path, and what it doesn’t mean,” says Conniff.
A path, some believe, the city should take. Aaron Cooper of Easthampton says “All of these problems exist and they all interact with each other, and we are capable of actually working on both of them at the same time.”
Once the ordinance is written, the 9-person council will either accept or reject it. A deadline hasn’t been made on when to make a resolution.