Hayward teacher Irazema Guerrero reads letters
from her students to President Trump during
Tuesday’s Hayward City Council meeting.

On Tuesday night, a third grade teacher told the Hayward City Council that her students recently sent letters to President Trump expressing fear they might lose their parents to deportation. But later, Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday had an odd message for the worried students and those urging for Hayward to become a sanctuary city. The city can’t keep you safe.

“Who will take care of us if our parents are taken away?” wrote one student, according to Hayward elementary school teacher Irazema Guerrero. Another worried about being sent to foster care in the event their parents are detained by immigration authorities.

“In seven years of teaching, I’ve never witnessed this level of fear in children,” Guerrero told Hayward elected officials. “We need you as our elected officials to represent us and protect our rights as members of this community. Please consider the nine-year-old kiddo who can’t sleep because thoughts of losing her parent and her livelihood are haunting her at night.”

The Hayward City Council’s intransigence toward the sanctuary city issue comes in spite of its neighbors in Alameda, San Leandro, Fremont, and other cities passing similar declarations starting in January.

Halliday reiterated the city’s current stance to Guerrero that it already enforces sanctuary city policies, namely a prohibition with working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but without the label of sanctuary city.

“I want you to know, and your students to know,” said Halliday, “that Hayward does have and has had in place for quite a while, long before the current administration in Washington, the policies that are generally thought of as being sanctuary city policies.”

Halliday then told Guerrero she could not offer solace for fearful Hayward children. “Unfortunately , though, I can’t tell you to tell them they’re safe because we are not in charge of the federal government.”

On Wednesday, the 22-person Hayward Community Task Force charged with updating the city’s anti-discrimination policy is being asked to offer a recommendation on whether or not the City Council should declare sanctuary city status.