|Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie|
Alameda may be the next Bay Area city to resist President-elect Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric by becoming a sanctuary city.
Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie will seek to kickstart a push on the island for sanctuary city status at the year's final council meeting on Dec. 20.
The referral will not only direct city staff to begin assessing the potential costs and risks for becoming a sanctuary city but also seeks to instructs Alameda Police to refuse any request by the Trump administration to use its resources for mass arrests or internment.
In addition, Oddies wants the city to declare that no city department will participate in any registering of individuals based on their religious beliefs.
“This is pretty much about values,” said Oddie. “Are we going to stand up to Trump or not? By doing this we could be a fortress of defense against Trump.”
Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco leaders recently reaffirmed their status as a sanctuary city in moves readily viewed as attempts to forcefully oppose the incoming Trump administration.
In Alameda County, Sheriff Gregory Ahern has said in the past his department will comply with requests by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seeking to detain or even deport undocumented immigrants.
Oddie said his proposal will also protect many law-abiding undocumented immigrants who are at risk of being detained for minor infractions. “If someone gets pulled over for a broken tail light they won’t be reported to ICE," said Oddie. "They’re raising a family and paying their taxes. Are we going to stand and protect hardworking people or not?”
One of the concerns over sanctuary cities is the risk of a punitive response from the Trump administration, for instance, pulling some federal dollars from Bay Area cities or even the entire state.
A portion of Oddie’s referral asks the city staff to discern what those risks will be, but he said Alameda currently receives limited federal funds, primarily in public safety and transportation. “We need to find out realistically what they could take away,” said Oddie. “If all the cities along the state are sanctuary cities, are they going to withhold federal money? I don’t think so. In my opinion, if they do, there will be riots in the streets.”
Oddie's proposal may also be the first test of the next City Council's potential shift to the left. The referral is scheduled to be heard following Councilmember-elect Malia Vella's swearing-in on Dec. 20. She replaces the more moderate Councilmember Tony Daysog on the five-person council.