Sanctuary City Legislative Proposal Summary

The draft legislation that this summary refers to has been completed in English and translated into Spanish at this time.  Preparations for submission to Common Council and move for enacting into law are ongoing in partnership with the Workers Center of CNY.


1. Introductory statement of support to be included in legislation, in order to formalize city’s
commitment to inclusiveness, and protecting the rights of all residents including immigrants.

To Maintain a Safe, Inclusive Government and Ensure the Protection, Order,
Conduct, Safety, Health, and Well-Being of All Persons in the City of Syracuse,
it is the purpose of this legislation to establish the City of Syracuse, NY as a City
of Sanctuary and Refuge for all persons including immigrants and current citizens
who have historically, and/or are currently, experiencing discrimination, hate
crimes, and any other facets of inequality and inequity.

Facing federal overreach from the Trump administration’s unacceptable
immigration policies and practices, we are working to adopt city legislative
policies, and recommend cultural and societal shifts, to protect the rights of all
individuals residing in the City of Syracuse. Specifically, the legislation would
establish the City of Syracuse, NY as a City of Sanctuary and Refuge. It would
prohibit the use of City funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of federal
immigration law (which is the responsibility of federal enforcement agencies, not
local government agencies, and does not require local law enforcement or
government agencies/employees to inquire into an individual's immigration
status), including honoring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
and/or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detainers, or to gather or
disseminate information regarding the immigration status of individuals in the
City of Syracuse, while preventing further as well as ensuring no violations of due
process rights.

This legislation calls for honoring sanctuary in Syracuse through legislative
action on the history of Syracuse as:

● The location on Onondaga Lake of the conversion of Onondaga chieftain
Tadodaho to the ways of peace by the Great Peacemaker and Hiawatha, and the
subsequent unity of all nations as formed by the banding together of the Iroquoian
peoples. According to legend, an Onondaga chieftain named Tadodaho was the
last converted to the ways of peace by The Great Peacemaker and Hiawatha. He
was offered the position as the titular chair of the League's Council, representing
the unity of all nations of the League.[48] This is said to have occurred at
Onondaga Lake.

● The “Open City”, as referred to by Underground Railroad station master
Jermaine Loguen when Syracuse acted as the “Great Central Depot” in helping
thousands of individuals escape slavery in the mid-19th century. Historical
markers on the city’s“Freedom Trail” include the fact that “Freedom seekers
came to Syracuse on foot and by road, canal, and railroad. In Syracuse,
owners of the New York Central Railroad gave them free passes.”

● An immigrant haven melting pot for communities of the newly arriving Irish,
Polish, Germans, Italians, French Canadians, Armenians, and many others, who
came to Syracuse from abroad and enabled its expansion into an important
industrial and economic center in the late-19th century.

● A central location in the regional Freethought and women's suffrage movements
of the 1800’s where Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage made their first
public speeches on women's rights at the 1852 Woman's Rights Convention on the
site of our current City Hall at 233 East Washington St.

2. Create city legislative protections, through implementation of new laws to the City Charter for
immigrants and other non-citizens, from immigration enforcement. Policies and actions shall
pertain to all local law enforcement officials, as well as all local city government employees.

a. Strong separation between immigration enforcement and local government
functions (including police) and protecting people’s constitutional and civil rights;
b. Including prohibition of joint operations and declining use of local city
government land, office space, personnel time, equipment, and other resources with/for
ICE (Dept of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CBP
(U.S. Customs and Border Protection) requests; and
c. Clearly articulated disciplinary policies for all law enforcement agencies (LEAs)
and City Government Employees who do not follow the legislative policy in place.

3. Decrease the connections between local law enforcement, criminalization of residents, and the
prison pipeline.

a. De-criminalize and reduce arrests for offenses such as drug-related offenses,
crimes of survival, driving under the influence, or offenses that take place in public
b. Divest police funding to invest in programs that create alternatives to arrest
(before an arrest takes place), jobs development, restorative justice; and

4. Ensure non-discriminatory practices for policing, social services and other public benefits.

a. Inquiry into a person’s immigration status shall not be permitted for eligibility of
social services and public benefits, except where required by federal or state law.
b. Data compilation should never include any personal identifying information, and
no registries of citizens based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or
national origin shall be created; and
c. This shall include access to copies of laws, know-your-rights documentation,
legal counsel, interpretation, and translation services.
d. Call for the creation of a local city government office of immigration affairs.


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