Following the trend of many cities along the North Coast, the Cannon Beach city council is considering adopting an immigrant inclusivity resolution.
The resolution, which “embraces, celebrates, and welcomes its immigrant and refugee residents and their contributions,” is not the same as becoming a sanctuary city.
The resolution was drafted after several citizens approached Cannon Beach Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn about wanting Cannon Beach to become an inclusivity city like their northern neighbor Astoria did in March. Seaside City Council also is considering an inclusivity resolution.
Schermerhorn said he then went to the Lower Columbia Hispanic Council, a major player in passing the resolution in Astoria, to discuss next steps and in the hopes of building a closer relationship with the Latino community.
“I know there is a lot of fear growing,” Schermerhorn said. “We want people to know we’re not actively seeking to deport undocumented folk.”
This string of proposals come in light of an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in January that would withhold federal grant money from sanctuary cities—a general term describing cities that seek to protect undocumented immigrants from federal immigration policies. The City of Seattle has filed a lawsuit challenging the order.
Inclusivity resolutions allow cities to support immigrants and refugees without running the risk of possibly losing that money by not cooperating with federal immigration agents.
There was never a discussion suggesting becoming a sanctuary city rather than an inclusivity city with the citizens who approached him, Schermerhorn said.
In the draft of the resolution, it states the policy is aimed to keep the roles of local and federal government clear and enforceable, rather than framing it as a resistance to federal deportation practices. No changes to current Cannon Beach police policy are necessary to adhere to these goals, Schermerhorn said.
The draft resolution does specifically prohibit “the use of city funds, personnel or equipment for the enforcement of federal immigration law,” reinforcing existing Oregon state law on the matter.
The council passed a motion to hear the resolution at the next city council meeting, which was met with a round of applause from audience of about 30 attendees.
Mayor Sam Steidel applauded the resolution’s similarities to Astoria’s.
“I was very impressed with how Astoria’s resolution worked,” Steidel said.
While the resolution is a start, Schermerhorn still wants to address building a better connection with folks in the Latino community.
“We would lose a lot of valued people in town if our community continued to live in fear,” he said. “We want to grow this relationship.”