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Identity & Community

Sanctuary City Petition Results In Scheduled Public Hearing

Liz Reid
90.5 WESA
The wife and children of Pittsburgh activist Martin Esquivel-Hernandez pictured at a rally in Downtown Pittsburgh calling for the city to become a sanctuary city.

A petition urging Pittsburgh to officially declare itself a sanctuary city has resulted in a scheduled public hearing at City Council.

Tayfun Gol, organizer with the fledgling Pittsburgh Sanctuary City Coalition, said the group gathered approximately 60 signatures on the petition and has seen broad support from other Pittsburgh residents.  

“We want our politicians to see that there is a mass demand behind going beyond mere words and actually making Pittsburgh a truly welcoming city for all,” Gol said.

In January, Councilman Dan Gilman called the term Sancturary City a "buzzword" and said legislation would be more impactful than the controversial designation. 

The hearing is slated for 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 12 in Council Chambers

If Pittsburgh were declared an official sanctuary city, municipal agencies could be prohibited from collaborating or sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. It could also ensure that all public services are offered to residents, regardless of immigration status.

Gol said it’s urgent to codify sanctuary status into law.

Pennsylvania state lawmakers have proposed legislation that would prevent local governments from setting rules that contradict federal immigration policy.

The Trump administration has threatened to restrict federal funding for cities which ban communication with ICE.