‘We have your back’: Alameda becomes a sanctuary city

A rally outside Alameda City Hall Tuesday in support of 
sanctuary city status attracted one protester displaying 
the photo of Kate Steinle, who was murdered by 
an undocumented immigrant last year in San Francisco.

Alameda is now a sanctuary city after the City Council approved a resolution Tuesday night that it believes gives some protections for residents who could potentially be adversely affected by President-elect Donald Trump’s policies.

“I stand for our immigrant population and the undocumented. I stand with our brothers and sisters of Muslim faith and all faiths,” said Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie, who spearheaded the resolution. “You said, ‘You had our back,’ well, tonight as a council, I’m proud to say that ‘We have your back.’”

The council’s vote, 4-0, was essentially unanimous. Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer left Tuesday night’s meeting shortly after the sanctuary city discussion began in order to catch a flight to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. Spencer, though, also voiced support in her brief comments.

Alameda’s sanctuary city resolution includes prohibitions against cooperating with federal agencies in the arrest of individuals solely for immigration-only offenses. Notably, the resolution hopes to make an end run around some potential policies Trump had described during the presidential campaign, including creating a national database for Muslims and the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. The resolution prohibits any city department from cooperating with either potential federal policy.

However, the proposed sanctuary city resolution created by city staff did not contain the legally nebulous term of sanctuary city. Alameda City Attorney Janet Kern said she was hesitant to use the term since it lacks of a definition.

Several members of the public and the council thought otherwise, voting to place the term in the resolution’s title. “It reads like a sanctuary city,” said Alameda Councilmember Frank Matarrese. “The power of those words cannot be hidden by the absence of sanctuary city.”

In addition, Matarrese reiterated a call he made last month encouraging strong communication between the council and the city manager’s office for prompt notification of all federal requests or mandates that may come down the line.

A line in the resolution asserting it does not challenge federal law was stricken by the council at the behest of Matarrese and Councilmember Malia Vella.

In a defiant and emotional speech, Vella said, “I want this resolution to absolutely conflict with an unconstitutional obligation or conflict imposed by federal law.”

“I’m not speaking to the people who feel comfortable. I speaking to the people who feel invisible or feel overlooked or unsafe,” said Vella. “And I want them to know they have a place here and we will fight.”

Categories: Alameda, Alameda City Council, Frank Matarrese, immigrants, Janet Kern, Jim Oddie, Malia Vella, resolution, sanctuary city, Trish Spencer, undocumented

4 replies

  1. “Welcome, all ye ILLEGALS!” We've got your back because we don't give a shit about the rule of law. Citizenship means less than nothing. Oh, and don't worry about borders; they don't exist!

    Last time I do any business in Alameda.


  2. By MW:

    The Bay area is already, and has been for decades, a sanctuary for all sorts of creatures, nonsense, insanity, corruption and fraud, and idiotic ideas, and including: one, money laundering; two, phonies; three, charlatans and demagogues; four, scumbag bloodsucking politicians who pretend to be great liberals and wonderful humanitarians; and five, all sorts of other parasites and fifth columnists.

    So therefore let's also make it a sanctuary for undocumented aliens and anything and everything else that is the latest liberal fad and craze.


  3. I would rather live next to an undocumented alien than this fool MW. It is apparent that he is frustrated, mental, unemployed, a coward, a racist, a dipshit and broke. So, MW, take your food stamps, go peddle your ten speed to the nearest market that accepts them and get some free food on my tax dollar. And hopefully, you will get hit by an uninsured motorist!


  4. By MW:

    In regard to the post of 5:01PM, I am retired, but had similar political opinions back when I was still working full-time, and at a job that paid fairly good money, do not even own a bicycle (but being a boring person, if I did buy a bicycle, very unlikely it would be a ten-speed, but instead would probably be something very boring and basic), and have never used food stamps.

    And as far as supposedly being broke, my wife not only gives me fifty cents a week allowance, but even lets me keep half of what I don't spend each week. So since I only spent forty-six cents last week, that means I have a whole fifty-two cents for this week. So the next time you see me, I will probably be at Neiman-Marcus splurging and wasting my money on a bunch of totally unnecessary luxuries.

    Have to go now, since there are a lot of salespeople working solely on commission and totally dependent on my spendthrift shopping habits and begging for my money.


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