Tom Butt
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  Statement on Richmond Immigration Policies Released November 17
November 22, 2016

I released the following statement on Friday, November 17, regarding Richmond’s immigration policies. It refers to three documents you can access through hyperlinks below:

·         Ordinance 2990
·         Resolution 11-07
·         Policy 428

There were at least two media articles that responded to my statement, including:

·         Richmond mayor says immigrant rights won’t be Trumped in his city
·         Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley Leaders Vow to Protect Immigrants Against Trump Administration


“We Can Do It!”  Office: 510.620.6503

Office of the Mayor


November 17, 2016

Threats from the president-elect are causing apprehensions among both immigrants and undocumented individuals about their safety and security living and working in the U.S. The City of Richmond joins many “Sanctuary Cities” nationwide in providing a significant measure of security and protection for immigrants and undocumented persons living and working in the City of Richmond.

Beginning in 1990 with Ordinance No. 29-90, the City of Richmond adopted policies that restrict the City’s response to requests for  “Information, Assistance or Cooperation by the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States Department of Justice” (now Immigration and Customs Enforcement – ICE).  

The ordinance delegates authority to the city manager or the chief of police to decide whether information or cooperation will be provided to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now ICE).  The chief and city manager are to consider the disruption and inconvenience to the immigrant and refugee community in doing so, as well as the requirements of federal, state, or local law.  The ordinance is not intended to prevent the police from providing such information to assist with investigation or prosecution of criminal violations

In 2007, the City Council adopted Resolution 11-07 “reaffirming its support for comprehensive immigration reform that is fair, just, and humane.”  That resolution reaffirms Ordinance No. 29-90, “ordering all officers and employees of this City not to inform, assist or cooperate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) formerly known as Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), without the specific authorization of the Richmond city manager or the chief of police.  The resolution also calls for ICE officers to identify themselves as federal immigration officers, not RPD officers.

Richmond Police Department Policy 428 implements Ordinance No. 29-90 by prohibiting the use of City resources to assist in enforcement of federal immigration laws without the specific authorization of the city manager or chief of police.  It notes that ICE requests for assistance for support services from RPD must be obtained from the chief.   The policy states that “[n]othing in this policy is intended to restrict officers from exchanging legitimate law enforcement information with any other federal, state or local government entity (8 USC § 1373 (“Section 1373”).” 

The City Council has made it clear that it is not the City’s job to enforce federal immigration law. Protecting our immigrant community is a foundation of community policing that makes Richmond a safer place for all our residents.

We do not anticipate any change in federal policies towards immigrants before President-elect Trump is sworn in on January 20, 2017. If there are changes in federal polices after that time, we will monitor them and take appropriate actions to protect our residents.

If anyone experiences actions or is aware of activities that violate the policies the City of Richmond has adopted to protect and support our immigrant community, please contact the Mayor’s Office. If such actions or activities are dangerous or violent, contact the Richmond Police Department.

I encourage anyone who wants to work with the City of Richmond to enhance services to our immigrant and refugee communities and advocate for federal reform to contact the Mayor’s Office. I have already joined over a hundred other mayors nationwide representing over 55 million people in signing “An Open Letter to the Next President of the United States: Mayors and Municipal Leaders Call for Immigration Reform.”

Earlier this year, the City Council authorized the City of Richmond to join in an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the President’s executive action on immigration in Texas v US

We also solicit support for local efforts that serve our immigrant community on a daily basis with legal representation, access to assistance and protecting a city’s right and a state’s right to decide what is best for its immigrant community.