Common Council Called to Take Legislative Action Now to Provide Sanctuary

The Green Party of Onondaga County calls on the sitting Common Council members, and all declared candidates in this election year, to spare no time in declaring support and enacting policy that would unequivocally establish Syracuse as a sanctuary city. Although Mayor Miner has publicly, during her State of the City address, made her support for Syracuse as a Sanctuary City be known, Syracuse is not listed on common sanctuary maps or databases due to no actionable policy on the matter.

Unlike the jurisdiction of Onondaga County where a July 2014 County Sheriff's Office Decision indicates Onondaga County Justice Center Jail will not honor any U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainer without a signed warrant, the City of Syracuse lacks any formal policy that would limit cooperation between city law enforcement and immigration authorities (limited detainer policies in which cooperation with federal authorities is not a blanket order but pertains to court orders for criminal offenses and not profiling for immigration status as civil crimes).

The city should not cooperate in enforcing a federal “papers please” law that will put us in the shameful company of countries with repressive internal passport systems, including the civil war Confederate States of America, apartheid South Africa, the former Soviet Union, and today's China, Iraq, and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Just as our city honors the 1851 Jerry Rescue in defiance of the Fugitive Slave Law, today the city should defend and honor the right of all of us, documented or not, to be free to move about without law officers demanding that we show our resident status papers.

Meanwhile, GPOC members will continue to work as members of the CNY Solidarity Coalition to protect and educate about items such as ICE prohibited enforcement activities at “sensitive locations” (2011 ICE memorandum policy number 10029.2) including:

  • schools (including pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools up to and including colleges and universities, and other institutions of learning such as vocational or trade schools);
  • hospitals;
  • churches, synagogues, mosques or other institutions of worship, such as buildings rented for the purpose of religious services;
  • the site of a funeral, wedding, or other public religious ceremony; and
  • a site during the occurrence of a public demonstration, such as a march, rally or parade.

Besides abiding by the the Fourth Amendment, which means you can’t be searched without probable cause or held against your will without a warrant from the court signed by a judge, we call on city officials to provide for voting by resident aliens in local elections. This practice has historic precedent in states across the nation, including New York between 1776-1804. As a refugee resettlement city, and since citizenship has not in all cases been made a condition precedent to the enjoyment of the right of suffrage, individuals of special humanitarian concern being granted entrance into our country through resettlement in Syracuse shall be further ensured safe haven through the right to vote in political elections.

Lastly, The Green Party of Onondaga County reiterates its belief that “the surest path to ensuring public safety involves a strategic approach to building strong neighborhoods and healthy communities where police work together with residents to assess neighborhood problems and craft responses…. with integrated neighborhoods where people who are actively engaged in civic life work, socialize and recreate together applies directly to increasing public safety”(GPOC Platform, Section 5, Public Safety & Criminal Justice, Introduction). NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has just published “Guidance Concerning Local Authority Participation In Immigration Enforcement And Model Sanctuary Provisions” which provides model language for becoming a sanctuary jurisdiction - so there is no reason to delay.

The Green Party of Onondaga County Executive Committee

Howie Hawkins, Chair

Caleb Duncan, Secretary, State Committee Member

Frank Cetera, Treasurer, State Committee Member

Ursula Rozum, State Committee Member

Mary House, State Committee Member

maureen Curtin, State Committee Member