Oakland pledges to remain sanctuary city

Oakland city officials and immigrant advocates met in City Hall Wednesday morning to discuss how the city can continue to serve as a sanctuary city for immigrants during the administration of a president outwardly hostile to illegal immigration.

After the meeting, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf reaffirmed the city’s “absolute commitment” to being a sanctuary city and said that the city and civil rights groups present today took steps to establish a rapid response support system for immigrants in the wake of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.

Schaaf said:

“We’re proud to be Americans, and the American system of government gives tremendous power and independence to local and state governments.”

Schaaf convened today’s discussion along with Centro Legal de La Raza, a legal services agency for immigrant, low-income and Latino communities.

Paul Chavez, executive director of Centro Legal de La Raza, said he was alarmed by Trump’s election after his comments about immigrants, including referring to Mexicans coming to the U.S. as rapists, but said:

“Our ancestors have suffered much worse. … We emerge from this election in serious pain but never broken.”

The meeting was attended by Schaaf, Chavez, City Councilman Noel Gallo and representatives of other immigrant advocacy organizations including the Spanish Speaking Citizens’ Foundation, Catholic Charities of the East Bay and the Immigration Center for Women and Children.

During the meeting, Oakland committed to several points in maintaining its sanctuary city status, including protecting private information and to offer public funding for legal defense of immigrants.

Schaaf said she planned to meet with other West Coast mayors soon to coordinate their efforts.