Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Proposed Chesapeake Anti-Sanctuary-City Resolution

Here is the letter I am sending to all members of Chesapeake City Council. Residents who wish to weigh in can send their own. Your message is more likely to be effective if the tone is polite. The email address is Be sure to include your name, email address, home address, and telephone number when you send it. Messages with insufficient information will not reach Council members.

Dear City Council:

I am a Chesapeake resident contacting you in response to an article in the Virginian Pilot regarding Councilman Robert Ike's proposed resolution that Chesapeake is not and will not ever be a sanctuary city,

I oppose this resolution. I have high regard for Mr. Ike and his work on behalf of our local citizens, yet I beg him to reconsider.

I agree with Hugo Valverde, as quoted in the Pilot article: "a formal resolution – coupled with the racial undertones of the recent election – could signal to the immigrant community, regardless of their status, that they are unwelcome in Chesapeake. As a result, they could move from the city... or be unwilling to report being a victim of a crime for fear they or a member of their family could be deported" (emphasis mine).

While it's important to live in a safe city, making potential victims or witnesses fearful of filing complaints, cooperating with officers, or coming to court will have the opposite effect. The only potential result will be negative public perception, especially if any viral-video of an immigrant being mistreated comes to light from anywhere in Chesapeake. People will (hopefully erroneously) believe our City Council condones the abuse leading to some unfortunate victim's bullying, mistreatment, or even death. I love Chesapeake and would not like to see its name, nor the names of our Council members, dragged through the mud of public opinion. As a taxpayer, I fear a potential lawsuit.

All residents should feel they will be treated fairly by our city.  We have nothing to gain from this proposal and much to lose. Please remove it from consideration, or, should it come before Council, vote against it.

**Update 5/4/17: I received two replies to my email. One was from Councilman Lonnie Craig, who said he agreed with me 100% on this issue and pledged to vote against it should it come to a vote.

The other one was from Rick West, our Vice Mayor. This is the first time I've received a reply from him on any issue. Unfortunately, all I received was a cryptic and non-committal, "thanks." Better than nothing.

I guess.

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