Chula Vista closer to becoming 'welcoming city'

Mayor says term 'sanctuary city' is 'stupid'
Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-05 10:00:07-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - The city of Chula Vista is leaning towards becoming a "welcoming city" for immigrants after a city council vote Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, Chula Vista residents sounded off about the South Bay city's immigration policies. The city released a report on its current policies regarding immigration enforcement and the "state of the law surrounding sanctuary cities."

The staff report suggested the city make no changes to its current policies.

"It's pretty heated, and I think that it's pretty unfortunate that it is," Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said regarding the divide over the immigration issue.

Salas said she was tired of the term "sanctuary city," adding, "You know what? I wish people would stop throwing out that stupid term 'sanctuary city' because it's absolutely meaningless. I just want to move away from that term."

The mayor argued the term gives those who are anti-immigration a belief that the city is protecting criminals. On the other hand, Salas said the term gives undocumented immigrants a false sense of security in a city where Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials can still enforce federal law.

However, the mayor said she would like to draft a welcoming statement.

"Do I think we have to have an affirmation that we are a welcoming community that will continue to treat everyone with dignity and respect? Absolutely," Salas said.

Following the meeting, the city council voted to draft a resolution on the "welcoming city" title. The council voted to support a state Senate bill that would designate California as a sanctuary state.

Additionally, the current practice for Chula Vista officers to not ask anyone for their immigration status will remain in effect.

All resolutions will need final approval at upcoming city council meetings.