In late February, a group of Schenectady residents turned out for a Common Council meeting to request the community debate becoming a sanctuary city.
Many communities across the nation have declared or debated declaring sanctuary city status since the election of President Trump as a response to what some see as harsh new immigration policies.
Essentially, a sanctuary city is a community in which the police and other officials will not actively help federal agents enforce the new immigration laws or check the immigration status of those stopped for minor violations, like traffic tickets.
Declaring sanctuary status is a hot button issue, with a lot at stake. The Trump administration has signed an executive order threatening the federal funding of states and cities with sanctuary status. Some argue this is a steep price for cities to pay, while others see the executive order as a call to action.
In a letter to the editor of the Daily Gazette, Schenectady resident Robert K. Corliss argued that Schenectady should become a sanctuary city. He praised the State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s dedication to helping the state and its communities express their views through actions like declaring sanctuary city status and notes that Schenectady would be joining a growing list of sanctuary cities in upstate, including Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany.
“To me, this appears to be one of those moments when good people are called to act,” Corliss wrote. “History has taught us that bad things happen when good people do nothing.”
As of writing Schenectady has still not officially debated declaring sanctuary city status.
WNYT: “Schenectady residents push for ‘Sanctuary City’ status”
Daily Gazette: “Schenectady should be a sanctuary city”