On Ordinances and the City Council

As many of our followers know, the city passed an ordinance on February 13th, 2017 that was supposed to make Bellingham into a sanctuary city. The community drafted an ordinance with the help of lawyers and gave it to the City Council and the Mayor. It was just what our community needed and provided protection to all community members. However and unfortunately, the city took the draft created by the community and revised it without any collaboration, creating an ordinance that has no accountability and protects no one, except for city officials and the Bellingham Police Department. Furthermore, City Council and the Mayor have not shown that they are willing to take any steps to strengthen this ordinance. See below for only twelve of the many ways that this ordinance falls short as well as links to both the community-drafted-ordinance and the one passed by City Council and Mayor Linville.

12 Ways that the city ordinance passed on 2/13 continues to fall short of real protection:

  1. Comes from a flawed, tokenizing “workgroup”.
  2. Allows city taxes to be used for immigration enforcement [section 2.25.030].
  3. Offers no assurance to undocumented immigrants that interacting with city employees won’t land them in I.C.E. custody.
  4. Allows Bellingham police and employees to continue cooperating with I.C.E. and/or Border Patrol whenever “criminal” activity—including minor offenses, like traffic violations—is involved [section 2.25.060].
  5. Allows sharing of information with immigration officials through What-Comm 911 dispatch [section 2.25.060].
  6. Allows Bellingham police and employees to continue cooperating with I.C.E. and/or Border Patrol to verify identity [section 2.25.060].
  7. Fails to repeal the 287-G policy that Bellingham police claim they can use to question people’s status and act as immigration enforcement [BPD policy 417.4.4a].
  8. Allows Bellingham police and employees to continue sharing other information with federal officials “when necessary” without specific definitions of necessity [section 2.25.060].
  9. Further de-legitimizes racial profiling complaints.
  10. Leaves unanswered questions about accountability and transparency by eliminating the community’s request for a Civilian Oversight Board.
  11. Eliminates enforcement: City refuses liability and private right of action [section 2.25.090].
  12. States the obvious—that Bellingham won’t take part in unconstitutional activities—when it could say: “In Bellingham, all people are valued, are afforded dignity and respect, regardless of status including identity information such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration, national or ethnic origin”.

The ordinance that was passed does not protect our community and we are running out of time to strengthen it. The current administration is doing everything it can to criminalize immigrants and to tear our communities apart. Do you think that Bellingham should be safe for every person regardless of immigration status? Do you believe that families should not be torn apart?

Then please call our City Council members, as well as Mayor Linville, and DEMAND that they strengthen the ordinance so it will protect ALL of our community members. Below are the numbers and re-election information for our council members as well as a handy script to help you know what to say while calling!

April Barker (1st Ward):                                                         Gene Knutson (2nd Ward):

(360) 325-5128                                                                              (360) 734-4686

Term: Jan ‘16– Dec ‘19                                                                Term: Jan ‘14- Dec ‘17

Daniel Hammill (3rd Ward):                                                  Pinky Vargas (4th Ward):

(360) 778-8213                                                                              (360) 778-8210

Term: Jan ‘16- Dec ‘19                                                                 Term: Jan ‘14– Dec ‘17

Terry Bornemann (5th Ward):                                               Michael Lilliquist (6th Ward):

(360) 305-0606                                                                               (360) 778-8212

Term: Jan ‘16– Dec ‘19                                                                 Term: Jan ‘14– Dec ‘17

Roxanne Murphy (At-Large):                                                  MAYOR KELLI LINVILLE

(360) 778-8211                                                                                (360) 778-8100

Term: Jan ‘16– Dec ‘17                                                                   Term: 2012– 2019

Demands For Bellingham City Council Members and Mayor Linville

My name is_____________________.  I live in Ward__________, and I vote!

I have read the information by immigrant community leaders and am seriously concerned that the ordinance you passed is not creating a safe and secure city.  In short, Bellingham is not a sanctuary city and does not protect all our community members.

I’m asking that you immediately act and change the ordinance to include the following:

-A Civilian Oversight Board as described in the ordinance provided to you by the community – an administrative or advisory committee without enforcement powers is unsatisfactory.

-Stop all activity or cooperation by Bellingham Police officers related to Secure Communities, the 287(g) program and any other collaboration without judicial warrants or court orders.

**Please let us know what they say, either in comments on this post or by emailing us at C2Cinfo@foodjustice.org!

Also, check out our other posts giving more information on terms like 287(g) and on how to spot I.C.E. and Border Patrol officers!

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