Northampton reaffirming commitment to protect immigrants, refugees

"Refugee" is an official status given to people looking to flee from war or persecution

Northampton City Hall on Main Street. WWLP file image.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Northampton has drafted a resolution to reinforce their status as a sanctuary city.

The Northampton City Council is scheduled to meet at 7:00 p.m. Thursday to reaffirm their commitment to protect immigrants and refugees.

The meeting comes just days after President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban undocumented immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The president says the travel ban is for safety, and calls it “extreme vetting.” He has also threatened to pull federal funding from cities that offer sanctuary, which is a form of protection from deportation.

The resolution calls the president’s executive order, “legally and constitutionally questionable and morally reprehensible.”

Trump’s ban puts the resettlement of 51 refugees by the agency Catholic Charities, on hold for at least four months. The refugees were scheduled to arrive in Northampton in as little as a few weeks.

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Springfield Diocese told 22News he will leave on the table the option to designate churches as official places of sanctuary for people fearful of deportation, if it came to that.

“Refugee” is an official status given to people looking to flee from war or persecution, and there is a vetting process in place. Police in Northampton do not cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to detain suspected undocumented immigrants.