Some local residents fear “sanctuary city” means no federal dollars

Residents were divided on designating Easthampton a "sanctuary city"

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – It was standing room only at a public meeting in Easthampton, Wednesday night, where the community considered becoming a “sanctuary city”.

Easthampton City Councilor Tamara Smith told 22News she would rather use the name “trust act” to avoid the misconceptions that comes with the term “sanctuary city”. She said, “We are not asking every immigrant within the country to come to Easthampton, we are simply saying if you are stopped by the police in Easthampton, you will not be harassed on the basis of your looks or any assumptions about you.”

Some residents fear cuts to federal funding if the city moves forward with the “sanctuary city” designation. The police department has received $22,000 in federal funds for body armor, and the fire department received more than $600,000 for a ladder truck.

Richard Habhab of Easthampton said, “A lot of people are very concerned about losing the federal dollars. I just don’t feel as though we need to put a label on our city.”

Councilor Smith said the city wasn’t worried about a loss of federal funding, and that Easthampton would evaluate current legislation to make sure the city is still in compliance.

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