The Urbana City Council approved a resolution reaffirming its ‘sanctuary city’ status. It comes after two weeks of intense discussion.
Alderman Bill Brown added legal language to the measure, specifying that no federal law requires local police to routinely ask an individual’s immigration status. It also says local policies must not target communities based on their "perceived" immigration status.
Brown believed it was necessary to update Urbana's 30-year-old sanctuary resolution after Donald Trump's talk of mass deportations.
“I think it’s important to remind people that there is this due process that people deserve," he said. "You can’t just deport a bunch of people without giving them a chance to talk to a judge – and you definitely have to give them equal protection under the law. And you can’t base decisions on religious preferences and things like that.”
The 5-to-1 vote was met with sustained applause from roughly 50 people who filled the council chambers Monday night.
University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle wrote the original 1986 measure to assist Central American refugees. He says this resolution makes Urbana the only downstate sanctuary city.