“We want to make sure people know that they are safe in West Palm Beach and this is a place where we want them to be,” Mayor Jeri Muoio said.
A spokeswoman for the service employees union said the phrase “welcoming city” means the same as “sanctuary city” but without implying wrongdoing.
City Commissioner Paula Ryan said the city has been fielding daily calls and emails expressing heightened fear of deportation under the Trump Administration. Some immigrant parents, afraid they’ll be taken away, are consulting with lawyers to draft power of attorney documents to ensure their children won’t become wards of the state, she said.
Muoio said schools superintendent Robert Avossa told her that attendance has been dropping in schools with large immigrant populations.
“Children are afraid something will happen to their parents or parents are afraid something will happen to their children,” she said. “We want to make it clear that it’s so important for children to go to school.”
She said the community response to the resolution has been mostly positive, though she fielded “some very heated negative responses” from people concerned that the city would be violating federal law.
“We’re not breaking the law,” she said. “We’re very clear (that) we’ll uphold all laws applicable.”
Immigrants who break the law will be arrested and treated like anyone else, she said.
Read more at the Palm Beach Post.