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File #: 2017-3770 (60 minutes)   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 1/17/2017
Title: Adoption of Resolution Affirming the City of Alameda's Commitment to the Values of Dignity, Inclusivity, and Respect for All Individuals, Regardless of Ethnic or National Origin, Gender, Race, Religious Affiliation, Sexual Orientation, or Immigration Status. (City Manager)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Social Service Human Relations Board Letter, 2. Exhibit 2 - Alameda Unified School District Proposed Safe Haven Resolution, 3. Exhibit 3 - 12/15/2015 Staff Report, 4. Exhibit 4 - Alameda County Sheriff Office General Order 1.24, 5. Exhibit 5- Alameda Police Department Policy 428, 6. Exhibit 6 - Truth Act, 7. Resolution, 8. Correspondence, 9. Presentation, 10. Correspondence2, 11. Submittal


Adoption of Resolution Affirming the City of Alameda’s Commitment to the Values of Dignity, Inclusivity, and Respect for All Individuals, Regardless of Ethnic or National Origin, Gender, Race, Religious Affiliation, Sexual Orientation, or Immigration Status. (City Manager)



To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council


From: Jill Keimach, City Manager


Re: Adoption of Resolution Affirming the City of Alameda’s Commitment to the Values of Dignity, Inclusivity, and Respect for All Individuals, Regardless of Ethnic or National Origin, Gender, Race, Religious Affiliation, Sexual Orientation, or Immigration Status




On December 20, 2016 Councilmember Jim Oddie brought a referral to City Council that passed unanimously and directed staff to draft and return to Council with the following:


1)                     An analysis of the potential and realistic financial impacts of declaring Alameda a Sanctuary City, and draft legislation supporting such a declaration;

2)                     A policy instructing the Alameda Police Department to refuse to honor any request by the incoming administration to use any of its resources to participate in any mass arrests or internments mandated by the incoming Administration;

3)                     A policy instructing all city departments to refuse to honor any request by the incoming administration to register individuals based on their religious beliefs; and

4)                     A resolution, similar to the one recently passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, reaffirming the City of Alameda’s commitment to LGBTQ rights, religious freedoms, and racial, social, and economic justice, and our commitment to the values of inclusivity, respect, and dignity.




Sanctuary Cities Generally


The term “sanctuary city” is not defined by federal law, but it is often used to refer to those local entities which place limits on their assistance to federal immigration authorities seeking to apprehend and remove unauthorized immigrants. Supporters of such policies argue that cities have local obligations, and that diverting local resources to support the enforcement of federal programs designed to deter or discourage unauthorized immigration would undermine community relations, disrupt municipal services, interfere with local law enforcement, or violate humanitarian principles. Opponents argue that local jurisdictions which refuse to support federal immigration policy are encouraging illegal immigration and are undermining federal enforcement efforts.


The federal government has the exclusive authority to enforce the civil provisions of federal immigration law relating to issues such as admission, exclusion, and deportation. The federal government can permit but not require the assistance of local officials. In 1996, the federal government enacted two pieces of legislation which prohibit state or local governments from restricting voluntary communication with the federal government regarding the immigration status of any individual: § 434 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA, 8 U.S.C. § 1644) and § 642 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA, 8 U.S.C. § 1373). Both pieces of legislation were designed to authorize communication by state and local law enforcement agencies with federal immigration authorities regarding the status and presence of undocumented immigrants. While neither of these statutes requires local cooperation or information sharing with federal immigration authorities, both prohibit a policy which directly prohibits the voluntary sharing of information once it is acquired. 


These federal statutes have been used to both challenge and support state and local involvement in federal immigration law enforcement. Proponents of state and local involvement have argued that these provisions were intended to maximize cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in enforcing federal immigration laws. Opponents of local involvement in federal immigration policy have argued that these provisions prohibit state and local enforcement and interference.

While many state and local jurisdictions throughout the United States have adopted laws or polices that limit their own jurisdictions' federal civil immigration law enforcement efforts, the federal government has not made a formal legal determination as to whether those state and local laws or policies violate these provisions. Some jurisdictions with “sanctuary” policies do restrict staff from making inquiries about a person’s immigration status in certain circumstances. Though commentators have suggested that this method does not directly conflict with federal requirements that states and localities permit the free exchange of information regarding persons’ immigration status, the practice results in specified agencies or officers lacking information that they could potentially share with federal immigration authorities. 

The “sanctuary city” movement is a recognition that the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, known as ICE, does not have the staffing for nationwide immigration enforcement. ICE relies upon local law enforcement to arrest and detain undocumented individuals. Refusing to do so effectively limits but does not prevent the federal government’s ability to enforce federal immigration laws.  


President-elect Trump has expressed his opposition to “sanctuary policies” and “sanctuary cities”. In speeches and in position papers, the President-elect has indicated that he intends to cancel all federal funding to jurisdictions that support “sanctuary city” policies. In response to President-elect Trump's assertions, local officials in more than ten major cities, including San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., reaffirmed their commitment to upholding their status as "sanctuary cities", even in the face of federal threats.


The Alameda City Council expressed its desire to support this referral in part because of the City’s long-term commitment to and support of its diverse community. Last year more than a quarter of Alameda residents were born outside of the United States of America. Our community is stronger because of this diversity, and we must ensure all of our residents feel safe in the community they call home. The recent election rhetoric has raised questions about citizenship and immigration. As a result, the City of Alameda desires to demonstrate its commitment to its residents by unequivocally stating that the City will not expend any funds, nor use its resources, including staff, to enforce federal civil immigration law which is the exclusive province of the federal government. 


Various Immigration Statuses from “Naturalized” to “Citizenship”


Generally, an individual immigrating to the United States on a permanent basis must first establish lawful permanent residency. There are a number of ways lawful permanent residency can be established. For example, permanent residency may be obtained after being petitioned or sponsored by a spouse, close family member or an employer, after receiving refugee status or asylum, after being chosen from the diversity visa lottery, or through several alternative permanent residency programs. This process is colloquially referred to as obtaining a “Green Card”. In most cases, Green Card holders must wait some years before applying to become U.S. citizens, through a process called “naturalization.”

If individuals meet certain requirements, they may be also deemed a United States citizen at birth. Individuals become U.S. citizens at birth if they are born in the United States, certain territories or outlying United States possessions, or have a parent or parents who were U.S. citizens at the time of birth (if born abroad). To become a citizen after birth, one must either apply for derived citizenship through their parents or apply for naturalization.

Although Green Card holders do not have the right to vote in the U.S., they have the right to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis, to travel and return, and to petition for certain close family members to also receive Green Cards. If they remain outside the U.S. for unlimited amounts of time or make their home elsewhere, fail to advise U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of changes in their address, or commit crimes or acts of espionage or terrorism, they will lose their right to residency and be refused re-entry into the U.S.

The next step after a Green Card is to apply for U.S. citizenship which is the highest status under U.S. immigration law. It means a permanent right to live in the United States and vote in our elections. Citizens are not subject to the grounds of deportability that affect Green Card holders.

(Undocumented Residents)

If an individual emigrates to the U.S. without going through the process described above or remains in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of a visa, they are considered illegal or undocumented.


State of California


The Truth Act was signed into law on September 28, 2016 and states that if U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) notifies a California jail that they plan to deport someone, they have to also serve a copy to the person in jail. This gives the person the “right to know” when ICE wants to deport them so they can seek counsel.


The Trust Act was signed into law in 2013 and went into effect January 1, 2014; one of eight bills signed at the same time in the State’s effort to take action on immigration reform. It limited California’s cooperation with the federal Secure Communities program (which was discontinued and replaced by the Priority Enforcement Program in July 2015), making it so that ICE could not wait at the jail to deport someone when they were released from jail, and that a jail will not hold the person being released for ICE. The replacement Priority Enforcement Program focuses on those who pose a danger to society.


In a joint statement delivered on November 9, 2016 by California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, it was confirmed that California is - and must always be - a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages, and aspirations - regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love. 


The newly proposed Senate Bill 54 would create “safe zones” for our public schools, hospitals, and courthouses, requiring the adoption of policies that limit immigration enforcement on their premises to the fullest extent of the law.


Alameda County


According to the Alameda County Sherriff’s Office, a General Order is in place, originally issued January 1, 2014, that provides deputies with guidelines on their duties and responsibilities associated with immigration law, enforcement, arrests, detentions/detainers, and Requests for Notification. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office policy requires the Sheriff’s Office to equally enforce laws and serve the public without consideration of immigration status, and states that the Sheriff’s Office does not accept and/or honor immigration detainers from ICE. The immigration status of a person, and the lack of immigration documentation, alone, shall have no bearing on the manner in which Sheriff’s Office staff execute their duties. It is noted that there is a difference between an arrest warrant signed by a Judge (which the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office does honor), and an immigration detainer signed by an ICE agent. Finally, the Sheriff’s Office policy provides that under no circumstances shall a person be detained or arrested by Sheriff’s Office members based solely on his or her immigration status, whether known or unknown.


Alameda Unified School District


Recently, according to the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), students and families in the District have experienced an increased level of hate speech. As a response, the Alameda Unified School District is being declared a Safe Haven District, similar to other School Districts across the state.


The proposed AUSD Resolution promotes the School District’s vision of serving a diverse community of students in an inclusive, safe, and secure environment, and its commitment to the success of all students regardless of their national origin, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, ability, gender, or socio-economic status.


There are over 72 different languages spoken within the Alameda Unified School District. Approximately 11 percent of students are immigrants to this country, 17 percent of students are English Language Learners, and 27 percent of students are socioeconomically challenged.


City of Alameda


Alameda has a strong tradition of embracing the island’s diversity and respecting the civil and human rights of our residents regardless of their ethnic or national origin, gender, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or immigration status.  Indeed, in 1917, one hundred years ago, the City of Alameda Board of Social Services was established to have charge of all matters pertaining to the care and relief of the needy. In 1937 the current City Charter was adopted and included the Board of Social Services. In 1977, following a vote of the people, the City Charter was amended to change the name of the Social Service Board to the Social Service Human Relations Board (SSHRB). SSHRB’s mission is to create an environment which encourages and brings about mutual understanding, respect, and good will among groups of people in the community. The SSHRB was created to serve as an advisory board to the City Council. To this day, SSHRB fosters mutual understanding, respect, equality, and goodwill among those in our community.


In December 2015, the Alameda City Council approved SSHRB’s recommendation to co-sponsor the Alameda Unified School District’s “Everyone Belongs Here” (EBH) campaign. Partners include AUSD, Alameda Education Association, City of Alameda, Alameda Chamber of Commerce, Alameda Parent Teachers Association Council, California School Employees Association, Alameda Family Services, and Harvey Milk Day.


The EBH campaign promotes inclusion and equity for all those who live in the City of Alameda. The EBH campaign pledge is to “confront all forms of hate, bigotry, and bullying. I will not stay silent in the face of intolerance.” The pledge is similar to language in the “Pledge for a Hate-Free Alameda” that was part of the SSHRB’s “No Room for Hate in Alameda 2002” campaign, which was also co-sponsored by the City of Alameda. The “Pledge for a Hate-Free Alameda” included, “to challenge hate and prejudice in all its forms whenever we encounter it, whether at home, at school, at work, or in the community, and to stand with others who are treated unfairly.”


Further, in July 2016, the City launched the “Love Our Island” campaign, to recognize the positive and inspiring things happening here in Alameda. This campaign, marked with an Alameda symbol and a heart, exemplifies the core values of our community.


On November 29, 2016, the SSHRB conducted a special meeting to hear public input in response to recent bias-motivated actions and other events affecting Alameda and the nation. On December 12, 2016, the SSHRB President delivered a letter to the City of Alameda’s Mayor Spencer requesting a joint meeting of the Council and SSHRB in early 2017 with the following recommendations:


                     Encourage and facilitate the broader use in the community of the “Everyone Belongs Here” poster;

                     Support and facilitate an honest conversation about the housing crisis;

                     Create a database on hate crimes and bias-motivated acts that the public could access;

                     Engage disenfranchised communities, including the Muslim community and improving the way our community communicates with each other;

                     Educate and mentor community populations that are underrepresented on City Boards and Commissions so local government reflects the community;

                     Engage City Council to be ready to participate with a prepared response to hate crimes with specific actions;

                     Consider designating Alameda a Sanctuary City via local ordinance; and

                     Support programs serving youth on the impact of parent conversations occurring at home.


City of Alameda Police Department Policy


Policy 428 of the Alameda Police Department (APD), originating in 2009, states that all members make personal and professional commitments to equal enforcement of the law and equal service to the public. The policy states that an officer should not detain any individual, for any length of time, for a civil violation of federal immigration laws or a related civil warrant.


The APD policy states that it is not necessary to notify ICE when booking arrestees at the county jail (the City no longer operates a jail), and that no individual who is otherwise ready to be released should continue to be detailed solely for the purpose of making notification to immigration authorities.


The policy also states that individuals should not be held in custody solely for a civil immigration hold unless the individual has been convicted or charged of certain offences or is a sex or arson registrant.


Proposed City Resolution


On December 20, 2016, the City Council voted unanimously to confirm the City’s commitment to build an even stronger, safer, and more inclusive community. The proposed resolution is: (1) a confirmation that Alameda has been on the forefront of issues of fairness and equality for many years, and (2) a commitment to all Alameda residents that they should not live in fear, and (3) a commitment that all Alameda residents have the City’s protection to the full extent of the law. It also confirms the City of Alameda’s commitment to protect the rights guaranteed by the Federal and State Constitutions, including the freedom of religion, speech, assembly, privacy, as well as equal protection. 


While President-elect Trump has stated in speeches and in position papers that he intends to cancel all federal funding to jurisdictions that support “sanctuary city” policies, if the Council chooses to pass this resolution it is reaffirming the stand the City has taken for many years against biased, racist, and unconstitutional acts against undocumented individuals. The draft resolution and the City’s past stance is to provide public safety for all, regardless of immigration status. The term “sanctuary city” has no legal definition and does nothing more to further the City’s, State’s, County’s, AUSD’s, SSHRB’s, and APD’s past practice of supporting all individuals regardless of ethnic or national origin, gender, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or immigration status. 


Further, the Tenth Amendment limits the power of Congress to regulate by directly compelling local jurisdictions to enact and enforce a federal regulatory program (New York v. United States (1992) 505 U.S. 144, at 161). The federal government has the exclusive authority to enforce the civil provisions of federal immigration law relating to issues such as admission, exclusion, and deportation. As such, Congress is prohibited by the Tenth Amendment from passing laws requiring states to administer civil immigration law. Further, local jurisdictions have no legal obligation to enforce civil immigration law as reflected in Alameda Police Department Policy 428.




If the President or Congress is able to limit the amount of federal funds allocated to cities that support “sanctuary city” policies, the City of Alameda may risk its current federal funds and/or affect its efforts with the federal government on three key ventures: 1) the Veterans Affairs Department construction of an outpatient clinic and columbarium at Alameda Point; 2) MARAD lease payments; and 3) the Navy’s environmental clean-up program and conveyance of the remaining 259 acres of federally owned properties at Alameda Point.


In addition, the money from federal agencies flows into the City in the form of federal grants, some of which are annual and others are one-time or project based. In the past four fiscal years, the City spent and was reimbursed through federal grants and allocations as follows:


Fiscal Year


2015-16 (unaudited)









Federal grants the City receives include Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which funds programs and services for low- and moderate-income individuals and safety net services such as supporting Midway Shelter, the Alameda Food Bank, and legal aid for seniors and domestic violence survivors; HOME program, which funds affordable housing; Justice Assistance Grants (JAG); Highway Planning and Construction; Federal Transit Grants, which includes portions of the Cross Alameda Trail, the Central Avenue safety improvement project, accessible pedestrian signals, and funding for street repair; Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, which provides funding for six additional firefighters, Assistance to Firefighters grant, which pays for Self Contained Breathing Apparatus; and Ground Emergency Medical Transportation (GEMT).




This action is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15061(b)(3).




Adopt a Resolution Affirming the City of Alameda’s Commitment to the Values of Dignity, Inclusivity, and Respect for All Individuals, Regardless of Ethnic or National Origin, Gender, Race, Religious Affiliation, Sexual Orientation, or Immigration Status.


Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Henry, Public Information Officer


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director



1.                     Social Service Human Relations Board Letter

2.                     Alameda Unified School District Proposed Safe Haven Resolution

3.                     December 15, 2015 Staff Report

4.                     Alameda County Sheriff Office General Order 1.24

5.                     Alameda Police Department Policy 428

6.                     Truth Act