Mayor Bracey: York a welcoming city to immigrants

Written by Gary Haber/York Daily Record | Jan 25, 2017 7:15 AM

FILE PHOTO: York Mayor Kim Bracey (Photo: York Daily Record)


But the order doesn't make York a "sanctuary city" that would shield undocumented immigrants from deportation.

(York) -- York Mayor Kim Bracey on Tuesday signed an executive order aimed at making the city's immigrant population more comfortable in reporting crimes to the police.

Bracey was joined at a City Hall press conference by Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA, a Langley Park, Maryland-based organization that advocates on behalf of immigrants. Several other officials from the group were on hand as well.

The order reiterates York's status as a "welcoming city" for immigrants, said Torres, whose organization opened a York office in March.

Bracey said the order shows that York is a city "that promotes mutual respect and cooperation and offers an inclusive and tolerant community."

"All are welcome to thrive, enjoy and partake in all this wonderful city has to offer," she said.

It is hoped the order will create an environment where all citizens, including immigrants, feel comfortable in reporting crimes to the police, she said. That includes victims in domestic violence cases.

"This is about making sure people know the police are here to help them," she said.

Being a "welcoming city" is far different than making York a so-called sanctuary city, Bracey said.

Some cities around the U.S. have designated themselves as such, with officials saying they won't arrest people just for immigration-law violations, and won't turn over undocumented immigrants to federal immigration authorities.

That's not the case in York, according to Bracey.

"We will not interfere with any federal investigations or enforcement of immigration laws," she said.

The order also won't change how police operate now, she added.

he order, said Bracey, doesn't prohibit city police in any way from "cooperating with federal immigration authorities in the investigation and apprehension of undocumented immigrants suspected of criminal activity."

It does say however that city personnel won't "be used to investigate, question, apprehend or arrest an individual solely for an actual or suspected civil violation of federal immigration law unless required by federal or state law."

An estimated 2,849 York residents are foreign born, meaning they were born outside the U.S. or its territories, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data.

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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