By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, January 31, 2017, the Birmingham City Council voted to make Birmingham a Sanctuary City for illegal immigrants. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) responded to the action saying that the State of Alabama will not support Sanctuary Cities.
Governor Bentley said, “President Trump has already taken decisive and necessary action to enforce our nation’s immigration laws. Alabama will not support Sanctuary Cities or institutions that harbor or shelter illegal immigrants, and are in clear violation of the laws of the nation.”
Alabama Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) who is often critical of Gov. Bentley agrees with Bentley on his analysis that Alabama won’t support Sanctuary Cities. Zeigler said, “The resolution passed in Birmingham was not even a legal and binding action. It was play-acting by the city officials. I think we can ignore it, but let’s be on the lookout for illegal activities just to be safe.”
President Donald J. Trump (R) has vowed to punish so called Sanctuary Cities that refuse to help federal immigration officials in their efforts to pursue criminal illegal aliens by preventing them from receiving Federal grant money. Democratic Mayors however see illegal aliens as a growing and important constituency and have vowed to continue to order their police departments to not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in his daily briefing, “We’re going to strip Federal grant money from the Sanctuary Cities and states that harbor illegal immigrants. The American people will no longer be forced to subsidize this disregard for our laws.”
Pres. Trump is expected to use local Law Enforcement to help federal authorities to round up criminal illegal aliens.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell said in a statement to reporters, “Every individual who resides, works, plays or come through the city will know they are welcome and have no fear in interacting with their municipal government in any way.”
Bell said that the Birmingham Police Department will not become an enforcement arm of the Federal government and that the city would no longer check for citizenship status when awarding business licenses.
The City Council passed the resolution unanimously.
The Alabama Legislature is expected to consider legislation that would ban local governments from becoming Sanctuary Cities when it meets in the 2017 Legislative session which begins on February 7.
(Original reporting by WBRC Fox 6’s Mia Watkins and Slate’s Henry Grabar contributed to this report)