Coachella officials work to provide sanctuary city without title

Coachella officials work to provide...

COACHELLA, Calif. - Public works Director Maritza Martinez confirmed that Coachella is not a sanctuary city, according to spokesman Jeff Crider.

"It's sad. It's not right that it's not what they say it is," Emilio Calderon of Coachella said.

Calderon said he's not happy that the city wasn't clear about its sanctuary city status.

"I don't feel good about it. All the people I know think it is [a sanctuary city]," Calderon said.

Mayor Steven Hernandez said the city may not formally take on the title, it has policies in place to operate like one.

"The city of Coachella does not ask its residents whether they are documented or not. The city of Coachella does not collect any information regarding documentation status or not. The city of Coachella also, does not work with federal immigration officials to enforce federal immigration policies," Hernandez said.

But just one month ago we asked Hernandez the same question. He said,"Yeah, yeah we are."

Hernandez said the city's policies to operate as one are in place and outlined in resolutions. One dates back to 2006. One immigration expert said it's city actions, not titles, that make it a sanctuary city.

"A sanctuary city is one that deliberately hinders or obstructs immigration enforcement either by refusing to cooperate with ICE or by blocking ICE access to the jail or having a policy that prohibits local officers from communicating or exchanging information," Jessica Vaughan of Center for Immigration Studies said.

Even with policies in place, one Border Patrol agent said any city operating as or like a sanctuary city doesn't provide any protections when it comes to the federal level.

"As far as federal law is concerned, federal law trumps the state and definitely municipal law. There's no such thing as sanctuary cities," Alessio Faccin of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

One resident said even with policies in place, it concerns him that the city doesn't take on the title.

"I hope one day soon they do fix it and turn it into what they say it is," Calderon said.

Map of Sanctuary Cities

Video: Becoming a sanctuary city could cost the city thousands


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