An offer of sanctuary, the welcome mat or neither


When National City officials opposed a resolution last week that would have made National City a welcoming city for immigrants and refugees, there was confusion whether or not the desigation would have meant sanctuary status for National City.

Immigration attorney Ginger Jacobs said many people have come to her to ask to define a sanctuary city compared that to of a welcoming city. She said a sanctuary city is not a legal term and usually local law enforcement will not enforce immigration law or enter into 287 (G) agreements with the Department of Homeland Security.  A 287 (G) agreements authorizes the federal government to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions.

Although a city might be is deemed a sanctuary city, Jacobs said the designation does not prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from entering that specific city and searching for illegal immigrants.

“The term sanctuary city can be misleading and can give people a false sense of security,” she said.
Jacobs said a welcoming city is based on the Welcoming America initiative set by the Obama Administration. The initiative is more symbolic by encouraging cities to be welcoming to immigrants and refugees. Jacobs said she often encourages municipalities to adopt welcoming city initiatives for their residents because it is a good message to send to refugees and immigrants.

The National City City Council in a 3-2 vote opposed the welcoming city label because the mayor and two council members said they were concerned that if National City were to officially become a welcoming city that federal funding could have been withheld from them.

National City Councilwoman Mona Rios supported the welcoming city resolution and said despite what the mayor said federal funding would not have been withheld from the city because President Donald Trump has only threatened to hold funding for a sanctuary city designation.

Rios estimates that National City receives nearly $12 million in grants from the federal government which can only be used for special projects such as the police department conducting DUI check points. Rios said federal funding could not be used for day-to-day operations.

The two-term councilwoman said she would need to do more research on the impact sanctuary city’s have on communities but would not mind considering sanctuary status.

“If I felt that there was the support I would have no hesitation in moving a motion for a sanctuary city,” she said.
National City Police Chief Manuel Rodriguez said he met with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly last week and Kelly had told him that the federal government does not have a definition to what a sanctuary city is.
Rodriguez said for most major crimes such as robbery or burglary the police department will use a criminal’s immigration status as a tool to hold that criminal accountable for their crime, but that immigration status will not matter for a minor offense or for witnesses and victims of crimes.

However, he said, the National City police department does not have specific policies when it comes to enforcing the law for a sanctuary or welcoming city.

“We continue to have a policy that focuses on crime,” he said.

The National City Police Department only has 86 officers on staff and does not have the resources to round up illegal immigrants for federal authorities, Rodriguez said.

In Chula Vista city officials are exploring both the sanctuary city and welcoming city designations for a possible vote.  In a recent city council meeting, Mayor Mary Casillas Salas asked the city attorney to work with the city manager and police department to research and come back with a report on sanctuary cities

Chula Vista Councilman Mike Diaz said he is not fond of giving Chula Vista sanctuary city status or calling it a welcoming city.

“The most important issue in discussing sanctuary cities is the safety of the public,” he said. “Does creating a sanctuary city protect the citizens of Chula Vista? It clearly does not.”

Diaz said he’s seen data that shows sanctuary cities do more damage than good for cities as it protects illegal immigrants with multiple felonies. He said there is not a clear-cut definition in what a sanctuary city is but to him it is one in where the local government does not refer or does not work with law enforcement in regards to illegal immigrant criminals.

Jacobs said there has been a study by the Center For American Progress that shows Sanctuary Cities throughout the country have proven to be safe for residents.

Diaz, a Republican who was elected in November to represent District 4  in Southwest Chula Vista said he also sees no point in becoming a welcoming city, as there is not much of a distinction with sanctuary status. Diaz said a welcoming city is just a term several cities are using as a defense in not losing federal funding.

Diaz also said the Chula Vista Police Department is not going out looking for illegal immigrants to throw them in jail. He also said illegal immigrants in Chula Vista are not being denied city services.

The Chula Vista Police Department said they will do whatever the city council asks them to do.
Diaz said he is not convinced that a Sanctuary City is in the best interest for Chula Vista.

“In the United States about 47,000 citizens die from illegal aliens driving while intoxicated under alcohol and other kind of drugs. If you look at that there is a problem with people who are here illegally who are felons, creating crimes.
“If you can convince me that a sanctuary city is going to make our citizens safer, I’m all in it but there is no statistics that prove that.”

Diaz added that although he is against a sanctuary and welcoming city, that does not mean he is anti immigrant.
Other elected officials in the county have a different perspective.

During the presidential primaries, Encinitas’ Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz proposed making the city a welcoming city. The Democrat’s proposal passed with a 3-2 vote and currently serves as the model for cities throughout the county who are exploring using the welcoming city status.

Kranz said the welcoming city model has been welcomed in his community with success.

“Aside from the fact that it attracts people who are afraid of immigrants and refugees to oppose our efforts to make our community welcoming, it has proven for the city of Encinitas to be useful from the standpoint of making sure that we are proving the best information possible and doing everything that we can to make the adjustment of being a newcomer to our city easier,” he said.

Kranz said when considering the resolution, he looked at the city’s current efforts in providing information and services to newcomers in Encinitas whether or not they are immigrants or refugees.

Like most cities in the county, Kranz said Encinitas’s does not provide a lot of social service but points its citizens in the right direction as to where they can get social services.
Kranz said critics of a welcoming city do not understand the difference between a welcoming city and a sanctuary city.

“People don’t get the distinction between when a city has participated in the welcoming communities program,” he said. “That doesn’t mean they have designated themselves a sanctuary city and the city of Encinitas is not a sanctuary city and I’m relatively certain there won’t be no efforts in designating itself a sanctuary city.”

Kranz said he is not concerned that the Trump Administration would withhold money from the city of Encinitas because its welcoming status.

Kranz said immigrants are beneficial to Encinitas’ agriculture.

“I think people like to talk a big game about immigration and illegal immigration but they really have no concept of just how important that labor force is,” he said.



Federal law enforcement officers, including those from Border Patrol and and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, can come onto private property without a warrant if the property is within 25 miles inland of the border.  However, they cannot enter a home or dwelling if they do not have a warrant signed by a judge, or a resident’s consent. Individuals  have the right to remain silent.


If an individual is approached  on the street he or she is not required to answer questions or provide identification. They can ask if they are being detained or are free to go. If the individual is being detained, they have the right to remain silent. They have a right to ask for an attorney if theyare being arrested and, if they are from another country, to speak with someone from their own consulate.


Border patrol agents cannot pull a vehicle over to question occupants without a reasonable suspicion of an immigration violation or a crime. Border patrol agents cannot search the interior of a car without the owner’s consent or probable cause. Vehicle occupants have a right to remain silent.


Border Patrol agents may stop vehicles at certain checkpoints to ask questions that establish the occupants’ citizenship. Agents can also inspect the exterior of the vehicle. Individuals have the right to remain silent but in doing so they may be held until citizenship can be established.


Border patrol agents  have the authority to ask questions that establish a person’s citizenship and what they are bringing into the country. While individuals have the right to remain silent here, refusing to answer questions that establish citizenship may result in being detained or refused entry.

At the border agents do not need a warrant, reasonable suspicion or consent to search vehicles, its occupants or belongings.


Individuals who are arrested or detained have the right to remain silent and are not required to sign any documents without conferring with an attorney.


There is no standard definition of sanctuary city or welcoming city, at least not one that has been established in court. Some municipalities that designate themselves one or the other differ in their approach, offering varying degrees of cooperation between local and federal government on immigration policies. Generally, sanctuary cities focus on the extent of local law enforcement involvement while welcoming cities address a spectrum of city services, from public safety to public health. Neither offers immunity against deportation.



La Patrulla Fronteriza no puede entrar en terreno privado más allá de 25 millas al interior de la frontera sin una orden judicial o consentimiento. Los agentes pueden entrar dentro de terreno privado sin una orden judicial dentro de 25 millas de la frontera.

Sin embargo, los agentes de la Patrulla Fronteriza no pueden entrar a una casa o habitación en terreno privado sin una orden judicial o consentimiento.

La Patrulla Fronteriza no debe causar daño físico a la propiedad privada.


Los “patrullajes ambulantes” de la Patrulla Fronteriza no pueden detener vehículos para interrogar a sus ocupantes acerca de su estatus de inmigración  a  menos  que  los  agentes tengan  una  “sospecha  razonable” de una violación o crimen de inmigración.

Sospecha  razonable  es  más  que  una  “corazonada”. Generalmente,  entre más  alejado  esté  usted de la frontera, es menos probable que  los  agentes  tengan una “sospecha razonable” de una violación de inmigración para justificar una parada. Los agentes siempre deben de poder explicar la razón por la cual pararon al conductor.


La Patrulla Fronteriza puede parar vehículos en ciertos puestos de control para:  (1) hacer unas pocas y limitadas preguntas para verificar la ciudadanía  de los ocupantes de los vehículos y (2) inspeccionar visualmente el exterior de un vehículo.

Los agentes puede enviar cualquier vehículo a un área de inspección secundaria para el mismo propósito:  un breve interrogatorio e inspección visual.

Los agentes no deben hacer preguntas no relacionadas  a  verificar  la  ciudadanía, ni pueden detenerle por un prolongado periodo de tiempo sin una causa.

Aunque usted siempre tiene el derecho a permanecer   en   silencio,   si   usted   no responde las preguntas para establecer su ciudadanía,  los  oficiales  pueden  detenerlo más tiempo para verificar su estatus de inmigración.


Los agentes en los puertos de entrada pueden preguntar a las personas acerca de su ciudadanía y sobre lo que están trayendo al país.

Aunque usted siempre tiene el derecho a permanecer en silencio, si usted no responde las preguntas para establecer su ciudadanía, los oficiales pueden negarle entrada a EE.UU. o detenerlo para un registro y/o interrogatorio.
Los agentes pueden registrar a cualquier persona, el interior de cualquier vehículo, y todas las pertenencias de los pasajeros. Los agentes no necesitan una orden judicial, cualquier sospecha de comisión de delito, o consentimiento para hacer cualquiera de estas cosas.

La propia política de CBP requiere que los registros sean “conducidos en una manera que no cause daño, segura, digna y profesional”.

Los agentes en los puertos de entrada:
• No pueden usar fuerza excesiva.
• No pueden conducir más registros intrusivos como cacheos que le quiten la ropa o detenciones repetidas a menos que ellos tengan una “sospecha razonable” de una violación o crimen de inmigración.
• No deben dañar la propiedad privada durante ninguna inspección.


Si usted es detenido, usted tiene el derecho a permanecer en silencio y el derecho a hablar con un abogado. Si usted es ciudadano de otro país, usted también tiene el derecho de hablar con su consulado.

A usted le pueden preguntar dónde nació, como entró a EE.UU., o cuánto tiempo ha estado aquí. Usted no tiene que contestar esas preguntas. Sus respuestas pueden ser usadas para detenerlo y deportarlo.

No firme nada sin hablar con un abogado. Si usted no es ciudadano de EE.UU., firmar ciertos documentos puede significar que usted está renunciando a su oportunidad de tratar de permanecer en EE.UU.


An offer of sanctuary, the welcome mat or neither