West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor announced at Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting, and introduced a proclamation stating that while the town will not officially become a ‘Sanctuary City,’ it will remain welcoming, caring, and inclusive, and embracing of all members of the community.
Text of statement provided by West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor
I want to take a few minutes to address a petition requesting that our Town be designated a Sanctuary City and the many calls, emails and conversations that I have had with members of our community that have shared their concerns about friends, neighbors and fellow residents that are immigrants.
As I have stated before, I will state once again. Let me be as clear as possible … West Hartford is a welcoming, caring and inclusive town. We have and continue to embrace all members of our community.
We take all petitions seriously. I have given this serious thought and done research into the designation requested in the petition. Here are the facts:
- There is no legal definition of a Sanctuary City
- There are both positive and negative connotations to this term
- No behavior or actions by school staff, town staff, or our police department would change as a result of such a designation, it would only cause additional scrutiny that is not in the best interest of members of our community and our community as a whole.
Our schools are led by an administration that cares about ALL of our students and families; and are filled with professional and passionate educators that serve every child.
Our chief of police has been a leader and a resource for our diverse community. Our police department values and protects the constitutional and civil rights of all of our residents and visitors.
It is very important to keep in mind that the Town of West Hartford generally, and the West Hartford Police Department in particular, are guided in our dealings with our community by something called “The Trust Act.” The Trust Act became Connecticut State law in 2013 and addresses detainee protocol. It was one of the first laws in the country to include policies that are welcomed by the immigrant community. We abide by the provisions of the trust act and support its reasonable and holistic approach to dealing with our immigrant population.
In summary, our town administration and elected leadership are committed to remaining a welcoming, inclusive and diverse community that serves all of our residents fairly and respectfully.
Now I would like to suspend the rules to introduce a Proclamation:
Whereas, America’s population has grown because of the immigrants and refugees that have come here from around the world;
Whereas, the inscription on our Statue of Liberty reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door” – meaning all are welcome regardless of race, religion, creed, country of origin and sexual orientation;
Whereas, we all desire safe communities and understand that reasonable, constitutional and humane procedures to assure our country’s safety is necessary;
Whereas, the promise of refuge and opportunity strengthen America in the face of global threats;
And Whereas, America is morally and economically stronger because of the immigrants that have made this country their home,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, as the mayor of the Town of West Hartford, I proudly celebrate being a diverse and welcoming community that affirms the fundamental value of respect for our fellow citizens and treasures the values that provide a better life for those seeking safety and refuge and a place in the great American dream.
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