LETTER: Standing up, as Americans

Posted 2/7/17

In last week’s Leader [Feb. 1], Hannah Russell wrote how disappointed she was that Port Townsend had not become a sanctuary city.

Port Townsend has a long history of affirming the rights of …

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LETTER: Standing up, as Americans

Posted

In last week’s Leader [Feb. 1], Hannah Russell wrote how disappointed she was that Port Townsend had not become a sanctuary city.

Port Townsend has a long history of affirming the rights of everyone here. The City Council just last December recommitted itself to this, including making immigration status not relevant for receiving city services or police protection. Nevertheless, more needs to be done.

Our new president is helping us to recognize this need. In issuing executive orders banning immigration from Muslim nations and in making statements vilifying immigrants from Mexico, he forces us to recognize the terrible vulnerability of all immigrants.

Additionally, the president has threatened to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities. This overt bullying is unprecedented and must be confronted. Jefferson County is already on lists of sanctuary jurisdictions.

In Port Townsend, we have already declared that we will not penalize people solely because of their immigration status. To be true to our values, we must stand in solidarity with other sanctuary cities. The best way to support sanctuary cities is to become one.

Could becoming a sanctuary city cost Port Townsend some federal funds? According to Russell’s letter, city staff don’t think so. Even if it did, our values come first, the cost is secondary, and we must be willing to pay it.

Timeliness is an issue here. Now is the time to stand up for what is right.

However, democracy is also an issue. We need a conversation. Let’s talk with our neighbors about what it means to be a sanctuary city. Let’s talk about what it takes to stand up to bullies.

This is not a partisan issue. We do not stand up to bullies because we are Republicans or Democrats or Greens. We stand up because we are Americans!

DAVID BERRIAN

Port Townsend

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