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Cincinnati Becomes "Sanctuary City"; Columbus Contemplates Following Suit

Jan 31, 2017

Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther
Credit WCBE Files

Columbus City officials yesterday responded to executive orders from President Trump banning refugees and immigrants from some countries with a majority Muslim population.

Mayor Andy Ginther says he will sign an executive order this week prohibiting the arrest of or denial of city services to a person based on their immigration status. The order also prevents the use of city resources to enforce federal immigration policy.

City Council announced plans to create a legal defense fund to help refugees and immigrants fight cases stemming from the executive orders. Council President Zach Klein says the city will study whether Columbus should become a sanctuary city.

Klein says council last night passed a resolution opposing the president 's orders.

The president last week signed an order cutting federal funding for sanctuary cities. But Columbus' steps are welcome news to organizations that provide a bevy of services to immigrants and refugees, including the Community Refugee and Immigration Services organization, which receives city money. Spokesperson Leo Alameda.

According to the Mayor's office, roughly 9 percent of the city's population is foreign born, and the local refugee community supports an estimated 21 thousand jobs.  Meanwhile, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley says his city is officially naming itself a sanctuary city.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's office says policies regarding illegal immigrants have not changed at the county jail.  There's no legal definition of a sanctuary city and the Hamilton County Commission does not control the policies of the Sheriff's Office.